OSAKA, Japan – President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met on Saturday and agreed to resume trade negotiations after more than a month of fierce fighting, whether a long-term relief is within reach.
Chinese state media reported that Trump had agreed to postpone the introduction of new tariffs on Chinese goods during the restart, although it was not said that Trump would withdraw tariffs already imposed.
"We have discussed a lot We are back on track," said Trump after the meeting at the Group of 20 summit. We have had a really good meeting. "
Trump said he would announce later on Saturday at a press conference more details on the China talks and the Chinese will make their own statement. "We had a very good meeting with China, I would say, probably even better than expected. And the negotiations continue.
The meeting was closely watched by corporate groups, farmers and US political leaders. Some feared that prolonged conflict between two of the world's most powerful countries could damage the world economy.
Prior to the meeting, Trump had complained about how their previous efforts to broker a trade deal a month ago seemed to unravel.
"I think we were very close and then something happened that slipped a bit. "Trump said, turning to Xi. "Now it's getting a little closer."
Trump has accused China of a number of unfair trading practices, including theft of intellectual property, unfair subsidies and currency manipulation. Some of his allegations are not supported by data, but a number of US experts and political leaders agree that China violated trading rules in order to gain an advantage over US companies.
The future of these talks could have serious economic consequences for both countries and political consequences for Trump. The US president has already had to transfer more than $ 20 billion to farmers to quell an uprising by many allegedly trapped in the midst of the trade war.
Reading a sheet of paper as reporters were in the newspaper Xi was careful not to divulge his strategy in dealing with the US leader.
"Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation. Today I am ready to discuss the fundamental issue of the growth of US-China relations, in order to determine the direction of our relations in the future. "
Some White House officials had hoped that the meeting itself would serve as a way to resume the negotiations that had begun earnestly last year, only to decipher themselves more than a month ago, as White officials House accused the Chinese of reversing some obligations. Chinese officials responded by stating that they had not agreed to the allegations of the White House.
Xinhua News, a state-owned company, reported after Trump's meeting with Xi that the US would refrain from introducing new tariffs due to negotiations. Trump had threatened to impose a 25 percent tariff on more than $ 300 billion for Chinese imports, but he had suggested postponing it if the talks resumed. Trump has already imposed $ 250 billion in import duties on China, a move that other world leaders have deemed harmful.
Trump also said he was ready to defuse his latest move against Huawei, a giant Chinese technology, in talks.
The meeting was on the sidelines of the Twentieth Summit, and none of the two leaders seemed anxious to ease their previous position to conclude a deal. The two men also met on Friday night and Trump was optimistic that they could come to an agreement.
"We will discuss a lot of things," Trump said just before the Saturday meeting. "I was with him last night. In fact, much was achieved last night. Whether we can make a deal or not, time will tell. "
A number of high-level White House officials, including US Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, Secretary of State for Finance Mike Pompeo, attended the Saturday meeting with Steven Mnuchin and top trade advisor Peter Navarro.
Trump accused China of tearing down American intellectual property and stealing US jobs, while the Chinese argued that Trump was trying to harass her and not allowing the talks to be leveled. Chinese officials have also accused the White House of trying to arm them to buy billions of dollars of US agricultural produce.
Trump's decision to temporarily postpone new tariffs on Chinese imports – it's unclear how long they might last. Exemption for hundreds of US companies claiming exemption from the White House for alleging that their businesses are facing massive costs, as the trade department is relieved of new duties because they say they can not import the products from elsewhere. Trump said that this harsh tactic with China was the only way to force the country to change its trade practices, and he also said that the US dollar billions of dollars earned last year confirm its validity.
It is unclear where the talks could go. Both leaders have shown their willingness to make the fight last much longer, despite concerns over the strength of the US economy and its re-election next year that could put Trump at political pressure to end the stalemate soon.
Trump imposed tariffs on numerous Chinese goods in the past year, and these penalties caught the attention of Xi and others. During the G20 summit in Argentina in December, Trump and Xi agreed to open negotiations to settle trade disparities. While the two countries negotiated, Trump agreed to withhold further duties.
More than a month ago, however, the talks ended, and Trump quickly sought to tighten tariffs and propose new ones. Trump's existing tariffs on Chinese goods cover a range of business products, industrial equipment and many consumer goods. But his proposed tariffs would hit everything else, including many electronics and consumer goods, and companies have warned these costs would be passed on to US consumers, which he estimated at more than $ 300 billion.
During his presidency, he repeatedly turned to customs to force other countries to conclude a deal. He has called himself "Tariff Man," despite a longstanding drive by the government to promote free trade and reduce barriers to imports and exports.
When the United States and China negotiated the trade agreement earlier this year, White House officials focused on a 150-page document that they believed would capture the necessary changes they made by the Chinese government had expected to rebalance economic relations US companies transferred technology to the Chinese and the theft of intellectual property. The White House has also urged China not to bring cheap products like steel and aluminum onto the world market, which is depressing prices. And Trump wanted China to buy a lot more US products, especially agriculture, to reduce what he sees as a financial imbalance between the two nations.
Many Democrats and Republicans have agreed with Trump that China should change its behavior, but no US leader Trump has chosen Trump's approach because of the complicated economic and security relations between the two countries.
Trump has tried to use as much leverage as possible to force Chinese officials to make a deal.
Just a few days after the China talks broke off earlier this year, the Department of Commerce announced that it was acting against Huawei in a way that could make it very difficult to do business. White House officials said the crackdown was due to violations of US law, but Trump has publicly stated that he will be ready to ease the deal in the trade talks. And he said he also discussed Huawei with Xi during the meeting in Japan.
There are still several people in the White House, including Navarro, who are forcing Trump to barter with the Chinese.
Navarro went past reporters after meeting with Xi Saturday afternoon. He was asked how it went and did not answer, but shrugged his shoulders with both hands.