Stocks plunge amid confusion over U.S.-China trade truce

Friday, 07 Dec, 2018

US President Donald Trump, second right, and China's President Xi Jinping, second left, attend their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The BBC's Robin Brant in Shanghai said China's comments put it at odds with the White House.

"The Chinese side will start with implementing specifics on which there is already consensus, the faster the better". Additionally, China was said to be beginning to buy products from USA farmers "immediately".

Trump, however, earlier warned that if a solid trade deal could not be reached, his administration would continue levying "major tariffs" against China.

Those 10 percent tariffs were scheduled to ratchet up to 25 percent on January 1 if the US and China failed to reach an agreement to at least postpone that move.

"Very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip, including stops, from Argentina", he wrote.

European auto industry leaders met with the president on Tuesday and the White House issued a statement saying, Trump "shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment".

The White House says China had committed to start buying more American products and lifting tariff and non-tariff barriers immediately, while beginning talks on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers and intellectual property protection.

He added: "When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so".

The Trump administration raised doubts Tuesday about the substance of a U.S.

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Trump, by postponing his threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent, nodded to the Mnuchin wing of the administration, giving it a chance to prove that China is capable of reform.

"President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will", Trump said during a tweet storm.

"China will for sure cancel the 25 percent tariffs on US agriculture products".

The Dow dropped 799 points, or 3.1 percent, amid fears of an economic down turn that could come out of a failed deal to end the trade war with China. Known as the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA), it safeguards the core tenets of NAFTA while also representing a step toward preserving duty-free access to two critical foreign markets for USA meat and poultry.

"China's discussed these things with the USA many times down through the years and the results have not been very good", he said.

"We don't yet have a specific agreement on that, but I will just tell you as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero", Kudlow told Politicoreporter Megan Cassella about Trump's auto tariff claim.

"China will start from agricultural products, autos and energy to immediately implement specific items that China and the US have agreed upon", Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing.

In a brief statement, China's commerce ministry described the two sides' discussions as "successful", adding it was "confident" of their agreement's implementation. Even if the tariffs are lifted now, the USA crop is becoming less competitive in the Chinese market as the harvest season approaches in South America.

Xi and his most senior officials, including the commerce minister and the country's two top diplomats, are in Portugal, and due back in China on Thursday.