The U.S.-China trade war: No victor, no vanquished


Trade War truce.jpg

China is reportedly confused by the Trump administration’s version of what happened in Buenos Aires.

After the key meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, officials from Beijing are “puzzled and irritated” by the Trump administration’s behavior, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing a former U.S. government official who has been in contact with the Chinese officials.

“You don’t do this with the Chinese. You don’t triumphantly proclaim all their concessions in public. It’s just madness,” the former official, who asked for anonymity to describe confidential discussions, told the Post.

The two world leaders met over dinner during the G-20 summit in Argentina last week. The White House said the nations had agreed to a 90-day truce on trade. Following the meeting, Trump told reporters it was “an incredible deal” and that it “goes down, certainly, if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made.”

But the Post reported that the Chinese have not acknowledged a 90-day deadline for the talks and have not said that they would “immediately” increase purchases of U.S. farm goods.

There are also “significant differences” between the two governments’ versions of what was agreed upon at the dinner, according to the Post, which cited a side-by-side comparison of their post-meeting statements by Bloomberg.

In a series of tweets Tuesday, the president said he’s looking to make a “fair deal” but stressed that he is “a Tariff Man” if talks do end up crumbling.

The White House has pushed for Beijing to make changes to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China and to address “trade abuses” such as alleged Chinese theft of American intellectual property. Washington has already slapped duties on $250 billion of Chinese goods and promised to tax an additional $267 billion in imports from China if certain practices don’t change. China, meanwhile, has imposed duties on about $110 billion of U.S. products.

Wall Street cheered the decision to pause the trade war between the U.S. and China on Monday, but economists aren’t convinced any delay would ultimately lead to a concrete solution.