The trade war is over. Promises made: China will `significantly’ boost U.S.

Ioana Erdei 20/05/2018 | 08:56

China will “significantly increase purchases” of U.S. goods, the White House said as Beijing’s special envoy at talks in Washington declared a trade war has been averted between the world’s two largest economies, according to Bloomberg.

A joint statement released by the White House following the talks didn’t place a dollar figure on the increased purchases by China, or address a comment by President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser suggesting Beijing had agreed to slash its annual trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion. Vice Premier Liu He, a special envoy of China’s President Xi Jinping, told reporters in Washington that talks with U.S. officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, ended with a pledge not to engage in a trade war, according to a Xinhua news agency report.

Liu said the two sides agreed to stop “slapping tariffs’ on each other, Xinhua reported. Liu said his trip to the U.S. had been positive, pragmatic, constructive and productive. Trade cooperation would be enhanced in such areas as energy, agriculture, health care, high-tech products and finance, a “win-win” choice for both nations.

China agreed to “meaningful increases in U.S. agriculture and energy exports,” the White House said, adding that the U.S. will send a team to China to work out the details.

Trade Deficit

“There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China,” the White House said.

The delegations also discussed expanding trade in manufactured goods, and each side agreed to strengthen cooperation on intellectual property. China will “advance relevant amendments” to its laws and and regulations in that area, including its patent law, the White House said.

The White House joint statement didn’t mention additional U.S. demands, including a halt to subsidies and other government support for the Made in China 2025 plan that targets strategic industries from robotics to new-energy vehicles. China had made its own demands, including giving equal treatment to its investment, and warned U.S. companies may be excluded from measures to open its economy.

On Friday morning, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters that China had offered to reduce its annual trade surplus with the U.S. by “at least $200 billion.”

“The number’s a good number,” Kudlow said outside the White House.

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