Trump, Xi agree to take steps to address trade disputes

Trump, Xi agree to take steps to address trade disputes

U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump Saturday agreed to suspend any new tariffs and take steps to address the trade disputes, which over the past few months had threatened to spill over into a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

At their "highly successful" dinner meeting on the sidelines of the annual G-20 Summit here, Trump agreed not to bring in any new import tariffs on Chinese products, while Xi agreed to purchase a very substantial amount of US products so as to reduce the trade deficit between the two countries.

During the meeting, Trump agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of product at the 10 per cent rate, and not raise it to 25 per cent at this time.

"This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the US and China. It is my great honour to be working with President Xi," Trump said in a statement released by the White House after the dinner talks between the two leaders.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders described it as a "highly successful meeting" between the two leaders and their most senior representatives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"Very importantly, President Xi, in a wonderful humanitarian gesture, has agreed to designate Fentanyl as a Controlled Substance, meaning that people selling Fentanyl to the United States will be subject to China's maximum penalty under the law," she said.

She also said that an increase of tariffs from 10 to 25 per cent due to kick in on January 1 would now be put on hold, providing room for negotiations.

"China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries. China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately," Sanders said.

Trump and Xi also agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.

"Both parties agree that they will endeavour to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 per cent tariffs will be raised to 25 per cent," Sanders said.

It was also agreed that great progress has been made with respect to North Korea and that President Trump, together with President Xi, will strive, along with North Korean leader Chairman Kim Jong Un, to see a nuclear free Korean Peninsula. President Trump has expressed his friendship and respect for Kim, she said.

"Xi also stated that he is open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm-NXP deal should it again be presented to him," Sanders said.

Before their meeting, Xi underscored the need of cooperation between the two countries. "Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest of both peace and prosperity," he said.