Hopes rise over US-China trade resolution - but issues remain

Trump delays tariff increase as talks progress

Trump Announces a Delay in Tariff Increases on Chinese Goods, Citing 'Substantial Progress'

United States president Donald Trump said yesterday trade talks over the weekend with China had been "very productive" as negotiators worked ahead of a March 1 deadline for the imposition of further tariffs on Chinese imports. The Trump administration has said it might ban Huawei products over a 2017 Chinese law that obligates its companies to assist in intelligence gathering as Wanzhou waits to see whether she will be extradited to the USA for allegedly violating trade sanctions against Iran. Trump proudly claimed that was a "tariff man" past year, but the prospect of hiking tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods appears to be too much even for him to stomach.

National Association of Manufacturers chief executive Jay Timmons urged Trump to press ahead "with a rules-based agreement that ends (China's) intellectual property theft and other significant unfair trade practices".

For example, in the Paris climate accords, one of the reasons the USA withdrew was because it required next to nothing out of China, which emits 9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year and growing, compared with 5 billion by the U.S.

The extension of the latest round of negotiations and the delaying tariff increase on Chinese imports testify to the sincerity, high attention and sense of urgency of both the Chinese and USA sides.

The announcement of a cooling in U.S.

"The decision to avoid a tariff hike is a positive development, and we encourage the administration to build on this momentum and reach a resolution that will eliminate uncertainty for American businesses and consumers", Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF, said in a public statement.

Yet some US -based fund managers from firms including Wells Fargo Asset Management, Causeway Capital Management and Janus Henderson Investors say they are becoming more bullish on China regardless of whether a trade agreement is reached over the next few months. People come and go in the Trump orbit, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is now in the hot seat.

"This is good news for business and it's good news for families". He set no new date.

Negotiators of the two sides have achieved substantial progress on specific issues in the Feb. 21-24 talks in Washington, the seventh round since February a year ago, covering technology transfer, protection of intellectual property rights, non-tariff barriers, service industry, agriculture and exchange rates, according to the Chinese delegation.

The U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies, have squared off against each other, imposing billions of dollars worth of tariffs on goods.

Neither government gave more details but both expressed optimism.

"If we don't address the underlying structural issues, we will have continued trade frictions", Stratford said in an interview.

"That figure is nearly twice what it was a year ago", Beebe said.

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