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Trump Notes Relations with Xi, Possible New Trade Deal with China

2018-12-3

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote Monday of his "very strong and personal relationship" with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He added that a new trade deal between the two countries would help American farmers sell more of their products to China.

Trump’s comments appeared on the news and social networking service Twitter.

Stock prices in Asia, Europe and the United States rose Monday following reports about talks between Trump and Xi last weekend.

The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies met face-to-face at the G-20 (Group of 20) meetings in Argentina. Each side agreed not to increase tariffs on the other's exports for the next 90 days while they negotiate details of a trade agreement.

Trump wrote on Twitter, "Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward! Very good things will happen."

China's ministry of foreign affairs said Monday that the Chinese and U.S. presidents had agreed to work towards removing all tariffs.

President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Late Sunday, Trump tweeted that "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40 percent."

The United States had a $335.4 billion trade deficit with China in 2017.

The two countries agreed to negotiate an end to their trade disagreements in the next 90 days. Experts say that is not a lot of time.

China's offers to buy U.S. agricultural, energy, industrial and other products are considered helpful to the negotiations. What will be more difficult are the other issues that U.S. officials said the two sides agreed on.

Those include the promises to immediately open trade talks on issues such as non-tariff barriers, services and agriculture. U.S. officials also want to talk about Chinese laws requiring the release of technology secrets by American companies that want to do business in China. They also want negotiations on issues like intellectual property rights and protection of cyber technology.

Raymond Yeung is an economist at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. He said that an end to trade war between the two sides would not come easily.

"Markets should not be too happy too early," he said, adding that the statement released by the Trump administration demanded a lot of changes from China for the U.S. not to increase tariffs.

Liao Qun is chief economist at China Citic Bank International. He said it was clear that both governments want to talk and work out their differences, but the agreement is only a “ceasefire.”

"There's still uncertainty that the trade war could be back on in three months," he said.

Both Yeung and Liao said the major issue could be what the Chinese government wants to do with its Made in China 2025 Initiative. That is a government policy that aims to end China’s need for other countries’ technology and make the Chinese economy like that of industrial nations.

Both Yeung and Liao told VOA they do not think China will overturn the policy. But some small changes are possible, Liao said.

“Maybe China can make concessions in other areas in exchange for keeping the plan…” Liao said.

Made in China 2025 is a 10-year campaign that China launched to help improve its technology. Many other countries worry the plan will only worsen trade problems.

The Made in China 2025 plan names 10 areas in which China seeks progress. They include information technology; robotics; medicine and medical equipment; and ocean engineering equipment.

An opinion piece in the Chinese Communist Party-supported Global Times said the meeting in Argentina had given both sides a chance to take important steps.

It added that the presence of White House trade policy adviser Peter Navarro at the meeting "was not necessarily a bad thing."

Navarro is one of the Trump administration’s strongest supporters of tariffs against China. The article suggested that his presence shows the deal with China has wide support in Washington.

VOA’s Bill Ide reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

tariff- n.a tax on goods coming into or leaving a country

networkingadj. of or related to an exchange of information or services

leapn.a jump

intellectual property- n.something (such as an idea, invention, or process) that comes from a person's mind

cyber adj.relating to online actions

uncertainty n.something that is not sure; suspicion

initiative – n. the act of giving up something or doing something in order to reach agreement

concession– n. the act of giving up something or doing something in order to reach agreement