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U.S.-China tariffs war truce likely to prove fragile

Posted December. 04, 2018 07:39,   

Updated December. 04, 2018 07:39

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“China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the US. Currently, the tariff is 40 per cent,” U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday. It appears that his latest remarks are aimed at stressing China’s instant concession after it agreed to take a "90-day truce" from its tariff war with the United States during the summit meeting on Saturday.

According to the Financial Times on Monday, China's Vice Premier Liu He will lead his team to visit Washington on December 12 for a follow-up discussion with Washington. However, the Chinese government and state-run news media outlets are withholding the information from their public that "90 days are given as deadline, and if the two parties fail to strike a deal with the timeframe, the U.S. will impose tariffs again." If anything, the Chinese media are emphasizing that China has resolutely safeguarded its core interests in the negotiation with the U.S.

Experts say that the following trade talks will face much trouble as Chinas has effectively declared that it will not make any unilateral concessions in meeting the demands from President Trump. The Financial Times also described the agreement as "fragile tariffs truce," expecting the coming months between Washington and Beijing to be "fraught with pitfalls."

Some pundits point out that the tariffs truce was arranged as the doves have gained ground in Washington. They say the conciliatory influence from Top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has grown against the waning clout of Peter Navarro, the director of Trade and Industrial Policy known for his hawkish economic view towards China.

In an article titled "A win for diplomacy at the G20," U.S.-based Internet news site Axios said the result of the agreement was a "score one for the globalists" against hawkish protectionists, adding that "no one thought Donald Trump had prepared for his dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but somehow an agreement was hashed out that calls a 90-day truce to the trade war between the two countries."


Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com · Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com