China trade war begins to thaw as new tariffs halted

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US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a high-stakes dinner yesterday to try to pull the world's top two economies from the brink of a full-fledged trade war.

"This was an incredible and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China", Trump said in the statement, released as he flew home from a stormy trip spent accosting his fellow leaders at the world's pre-eminent economic forum.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump and Xi had agreed to begin immediate trade negotiations on the stickier points of contention between the two powers, including forced technology transfer and intellectual property protection. During their working dinner, the two leaders had very "positive and constructive" discussions over trade and economic issues and agreed not to impose additional tariffs.

The two heads of state had an in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and global issues of common concern in a friendly and candid atmosphere at a working dinner after the conclusion of the 13th summit of the Group of 20 in Argentina.

China is "the largest source of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances in the United States", according to a US commission established by Congress to review the national security implications of relations between the two countries. China will be opening up.

President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping lead their respective delegatiosn during their bilateral meeting at the G-20 Summit, Dec. 1, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. En route from Buenos Aires on Air Force One, the president told reporters that he would soon notify Congress that he's abandoning the North American Free Trade Agreement.

If there is any further retaliation, Trump has warned, he will slap punitive duties on the remaining $267 billion in Chinese goods coming to the US.

The Group of 20 industrialized nations called for reforms to the crisis-stricken World Trade Organization in a final statement from a two-day gathering in Argentina, marking a victory for Trump's drive to overhaul the trade body.

"It's a very important meeting", Trump said earlier on Saturday.

Both sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods.

At the dinner, however, he was more upbeat, saying that his ties to Xi were "a very primary reason" for considering a deal possible.

"China relations that both sides claim victory", said Michael Pillsbury, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a defense official under presidents including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

The White House also says China has agreed to buy more American goods, although it did not specify how much.

"This was an fantastic and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China". "It is my great honour to be working with President Xi". There was no mention of that threat in the White House account of Saturday's talks.

Officials expressed relief that agreement on the communique was reached after negotiators worked through the night to overcome differences over language on climate change.

The declaration struck a neutral formula on trade, reading: "We welcome the strong global economic growth while recognizing it has been increasingly less synchronized between countries and some of the key risks, including financial vulnerabilities and geopolitical concerns, have partially materialized".

Even as Trump appeared to soften his approach to China, he talked tough on a separate trade front. China calls the United States protectionist and has resisted what it views as attempts to intimidate it.

The U.S. side, he added, is ready to increase cooperation with China through consultations and actively seek mutually beneficial solutions to their problems. And he's threatened to expand tariffs to virtually everything China ships to the United States. The European Union is also pushing for sweeping changes to how the WTO operates.

The dinner between Trump and Xi lasted almost two-and-a-half hours - an hour longer than expected, according to the South China Morning Post.

Trump may come under pressure once scrutiny of the cease-fire reveals that Xi got off "without yielding any meaningful concessions", said Brock Silvers, managing director of Shanghai-based investment advisory Kaiyuan Capital.