WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday it will need to see “something concrete” from China in the next 90 days to build a real agreement on trade, two days after Donald Trump and Xi Jinping called a truce in the escalating confrontation between the two powerhouses.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on CNBC the US and Chinese had “very specific discussions” in Buenos Aires on Saturday evening on steps to defuse their conflict, which involves hundreds of billions in bilateral trade and had roiled world markets for months.
He said for the first time there was “a clear path” to reduce the US trade deficit with China to zero.
“There was a significant commitment from both leaders on what needs to be done over the 90 days and instructions to both teams to negotiate and turn this into a real agreement with specific action items, deliverables and time frames,” Mnuchin said.
Following the Trump-Xi talks, which took place over dinner at the end of the G20 summit, Washington agreed to hold off on Trump’s threat to slap 25 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from Jan 1, leaving them at the current 10pc rate.
In return, China is to purchase “very substantial” amounts of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the United States.
In a surprise announcement tweeted on Sunday night, Trump also said China would “reduce and remove” tariffs of 40pc on cars, though Beijing has yet to confirm the move.
Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2018