The Trump administration says China steals technology and pressures foreign companies to hand over trade secrets. (AP: Andrew Harnik)
The US is suspending a tariff hike on $US250 billion ($368 billion) in Chinese imports that was set to take effect on Tuesday, and China agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion in US farm products as the world’s two biggest economies reached a ceasefire in their 15-month trade war.
- Mr Trump said the Chinese were “very tough negotiators” after two days of meetings with Vice-Premier Liu He
- But plans to impose tariffs on an additional $160 billion in Chinese products have not changed
- China announced a timetable to allow full foreign ownership of some finance businesses
The White House said the two sides made some progress on the thornier issues, including China’s lax protection of foreign intellectual property.
But more progress will have to be made on key differences in later negotiations, including US allegations China forces foreign countries to hand over trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.
US President Donald Trump announced the trade truce in a White House meeting with the top Chinese negotiator, Vice-Premier Liu He.
The news followed two days of talks in Washington.
“You’re very tough negotiators,” Mr Trump said to the Chinese delegation.
Mr Trump was yet to change plans to impose tariffs on December 15 on an additional $160 billion in Chinese products, a move that would extend the sanctions to just about everything China ships to the US.
The December 15 tariffs would cover a wide range of consumer goods, including clothes, toys and smartphones and would likely be felt by American shoppers.
Still, nervous financial markets welcomed the prospect of reduced tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Tweet from Donald Trump: “Good things are happening at China Trade Talk Meeting. Warmer feelings than in recent past, more like the Old Days. I will be meeting with the Vice Premier today. All would like to see something significant happen!”
Before Friday’s meeting, Mr Trump posted on Twitter that he would “like to see something significant happen”.
“One of the great things about the China Deal is the fact that, for various reasons, we do not have to go through the very long and politically complex Congressional Approval Process,” he said.
“When the deal is fully negotiated, I sign it myself on behalf of our Country. Fast and Clean!”
The two sides are deadlocked primarily over the Trump administration’s assertions that China steals technology and pressures foreign companies to hand over trade secrets as part of a sharp-elbowed drive to become the global leader in robotics, self-driving cars and other advanced technology.
Beijing has been reluctant to make the kind of substantive policy reforms that would satisfy the administration.
Doing so would likely require scaling back China’s aspirations for technological supremacy, which it sees as crucial to its prosperity.
Earlier Friday, China announced a timetable for carrying out a promise to allow full foreign ownership of some finance businesses, starting with futures traders on January 1, as Beijing tries to make its slowing economy more competitive and efficient.
Ownership limits will be ended for mutual fund companies on April 1 and for securities firms on December 1, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said.
Until now, foreign investors have been limited to owning 51 per cent of such businesses.