Trade talks ‘back on track’ as Trump, Xi agree to resume negotiations

Trade talks ‘back on track’ as Trump, Xi agree to resume negotiations

Osaka: US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday agreed to resume trade negotiations in an effort to end an ongoing impasse between the two economic giants.

Speaking to the media after his highly-anticipated meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the ongoing G20 Summit here, Trump said: “We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China. Excellent, I would say excellent. As good as it was going to be.

“We discussed a lot of things and we’re right back on track and we’ll see what happens.”

Trump however, did not give any other details, saying that an official statement would be released by the two sides later in the day.

According to Xinhua news agency, the US agreed to not impose new tariffs on imports from China and the two sides agreed to discuss “specific issues” to end the turbulent trade war going on between the two countries since last year.

Trump and Xi agreed to carry out the consultations “on the basis of equality and mutual respect”, a condition put forward by Xi for reaching a deal in earlier trade negotiations, Xinhua added.

Xi said that despite changes that have taken place internationally and between China-US relations over the past 40 years, “one basic fact remains unchanged: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation”.

“Cooperation and dialog are better than friction and confrontation,” Xi said at the start of the meeting, adding that he wanted to maintain frequent contact with the US president to boost stable bilateral relations.

The meeting showed both leaders’ apparent willingness to restart discussions after the breakdown in negotiations in May and the subsequent exchange of tariff increases.

The truce suggests that the two sides will not impose fresh measures to worsen the situation, but it remains to be seen whether they are really ready to make concessions to reach a final deal.

There has been no agreement yet on key issues such as the difficulties US companies face in accessing the Chinese market, or once there, the handicaps they face against state enterprises, subsidized by Beijing.

Common ground has also been missing on intellectual property rights, the forced transfer of technology or cyber-security – topics that the two sides are expected to discuss in the coming months.

The Washington-Beijing tensions have their origins in the large US trade deficit with China, as the latter exports products worth $419 billion more than it imports from its biggest trading partner, the US.

The last chapter of escalation in the conflict unfolded in May when the US raised tariffs to 25 per cent on Chinese imports worth $200 billion, to which Beijing responded by raising tariffs on US products worth $60 billion.