OSAKA, Japan — President Donald Trump on Saturday stepped back from an escalation of his trade war with China that threatened to damage his 2020 reelection chances.
During a 80-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump agreed not to proceed with plans to impose a 25 percent duty on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.
“Were holding on tariffs, and theyre going to buy farm product,” Trump told reporters during a press conference after his meeting with Xi at the annual G-20 leaders summit here in Osaka.
American farm exports to China have plummeted as a result of the trade war. Total sales this budget year are forecast at $6 billion, down from a high of nearly $26 billion when Barack Obama was president.
The decision to halt additional tariffs will also be welcome news to retailers and consumers, especially lower-income voters who rely on cheap imports, going into the 2020 election.
The United States will keep in place a 25 percent duty on $250 billion of Chinese goods that Trump imposed earlier. It will also give China a list of U.S. products to buy, Trump said.
In what appears to be a concession to Xi, Trump said he would loosen a trade ban that his administration recently imposed on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
The president indicated he thought the restrictions were too tight because Huawei is a major customer for many U.S. technology products.
“We send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things they make,” Trump said. “These are American companies that make product. Its very complex. Highly scientific. And in some cases were the ones that do it and the only ones that do it.”
However, Trump said the ultimate resolution of the Huawei issue would be left until the end of negotiations with China.
Trump also said he did not discuss the case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada last December at the request of the United States over allegations of breaching a U.S.-imposed ban on dealing with Iran.
But in response to a reporters question, he said the administration would discuss the telecommunications companys continued presence on the Commerce Departments “entity list” in the coming days. Later, he said Huawei was “very much in play,” but repeated that the U.S.and China plan to resolve the issue at the end of the talks.
In another area, he indicated his desire to reform U.S. visa policy to allow Chinese students remain and work in the United States after they finish their education. He called it a “smart persons waiver.”
“Well make it so they cannot only stay, but maybe they have access to green cards. We want to keep them here,” Trump said.
Trump did not specify any deadline for concluding the negotiations and was cautious about predicting success. “This doesnt mean there will be a deal. They would like to make a deal. I can tell you that. If we can make a deal it would be historic,” Trump said.
Trumps decision to put tariffs on hold should please financial markets worried about the effects of an escalating trade war on U.S. and global growth. But heading into the 2020 presidential campaign he has little to show so far on the China trade front, except lost sales.
Five months of negotiations between the two countries abruptly halted in May after Trump accused China of backtracking on commitments in a nearly 150-page draft agreement to changRead More – Source