Trade war fears ebb as U.S., China agree to continue talks

May 20, 2018 - Washington and Beijing both claimed victory on Monday as the world’s two largest economies stepped back from the brink of a global trade war and agreed to hold further talks to boost U.S. exports to China.

Over the weekend, the two sides pledged to keep talking about how China could import more energy and agricultural commodities from the United States so as to narrow the $335 billion annual U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China, although details and a firm timeline were thin.

The biggest immediate beneficiary appeared to be China, which won a reprieve from threatened tariffs on $50 billion of its exports to the United States as well as a lifeline for ZTE Corp, China’s second biggest telecom equipment maker whose existence had been threatened by U.S. sanctions.

The United States, meanwhile, appeared to have won promises of more imports by China, although there were no specifics.

Threatened U.S. restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States also appeared to be put on the back burner. The U.S. Treasury said it met a legal obligation to report progress to President Donald Trump on the development of such restrictions, but it declined to provide details.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “discussed options for the president’s consideration on the matter,” a Treasury spokeswoman said.

Source: Reuters