Cease-fire in US-China trade war doesn’t bridge differences

Washington: Once again, Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have hit the reset button in trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies, at least delaying an escalation in tension between the US and China that had financial markets on edge and cast a cloud over the global economy.

But when US and Chinese negotiators sit down to work out details, the same difficult task remains: getting China to convince the United States that it will curb its aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance — and then to live up to its promises.

At the Group of 20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, Trump and Xi agreed to a cease-fire in the trade conflict. Trump said Saturday he would hold off for the ‘time being’ on plans to impose tariffs on $300 billion more in Chinese imports — on top of the $250 billion he’s already targeted. This decision will jump-start trade talks that stalled last month.

‘We’re going to work with China where we left off,’ Trump said Saturday. He also said China had agreed to buy more American farm products.

Andy Rothman, an investment strategist with Matthews Asia and a former economic official with the US Embassy in Beijing, said the Trump-Xi meeting was more conciliatory than he expected. He was struck by Trump’s use of the term ‘strategic partner’ to describe US relations with China after other administration officials have played up the geopolitical rivalry between the two countries.

Addressing another contentious issue, Trump said he will now allow US companies to sell some components to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which last month was put on an American blacklist as a threat to national security. Trump said that Huawei will stay on the blacklist, however, and that its future won’t be decided until the end of the trade talks.