China vows quick trade moves as United States sends mixed signals

Xi Jingping

Xi Jingping

It did not give further details but it crucially did not contradict the U.S. president's remarks that China would buy more goods from the United States to help close their trade gap and structural changes to intellectual property protection.

The Trump administration has already levied around $250 billion worth of duties on Chinese goods and promised to tax an additional $267 billion in imports from China if it doesn't change its trade practices.

US President Donald Trump said China is sending "very strong signals" following weekend trade discussions in Argentina, as uncertainty remains over what commitments were made between the two nations.

But concerns linger over discrepancies in information coming from either side.

In a commerce ministry statement, Chinese officials called the talks between the two leaders a "great success".

Beijing's commerce ministry said negotiators would "actively push forward negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and roadmap".

In Buenos Aires, Trump agreed to delay the scheduled US tariff increase for 90 days while the two sides negotiate over the administration's complaints related to how Beijing systematically steals trade secrets and forces the USA and other foreign countries to hand over sensitive technology as the price of admission to the vast Chinese market.

"What Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping did in Buenos Aires was buy time".

"If it is, we will get it done", Mr Trump said in a Twitter post.

The US President said China was supposed to begin buying US agricultural products and others "immediately" as part of an agreement to reduce the trade imbalance between them.

Chinese officials are puzzled and irritated by the administration's shaky handling of the meeting's aftermath, according to a former U.S. government official who has been in contact with them.

Trump has said China is supposed to start buying agricultural products immediately and cut its 40 percent tariffs on US auto imports.

Trump added China would roll back tariffs of 40 percent on cars, though Beijing has yet to confirm the move.

Mr. Trump has used tariffs to force Beijing to the negotiating table over its long-standing trade abuses, including tariffs and other trade barriers, theft of intellectual property and forced transfer of technology from US companies doing business in China.

"It doesn't seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump's tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality", said an investor note issued by JPMorgan. Referring to himself as a "Tariff Man", Trump, in a series of tweets, deepened the murkiness surrounding the trade agreement, while members of his economic team talked down the prospects of a broad deal. "It will always be the best way to max out our economic power", he said on Tuesday.

And China has not confirmed that it made most of the concessions that the Trump administration has claimed. Mnuchin said Monday morning on CNBC that China had offered to buy up to US$1.2 trillion of additional USA goods, even while the "details of that still need to be negotiated".

On Wednesday, the Global Times tabloid, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party's main newspaper, said myriad statements from the Trump administration about the deal - including the agreement that China would buy $1.2 trillion in additional US goods - were created to highlight or even exaggerate facets of the deal that benefited the United States.

Beijing pledged to import more United States products to narrow its massive trade surplus with the U.S. following the Argentina talks, but it has given few details about what was agreed. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs.

"Ultimately, I believe, we will be making a deal - either now or into the future", he wrote. Many companies have already switched their purchases from China to another country to avoid the potential 25 per cent tariff.