China will “significantly increase purchases” of US 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.
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 US by $200 billion.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has decided not to impose tariffs on Chinese products for now, after progress between the two nations on trade issue during two days of talks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“We’re putting the trade war on hold, right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to executive the framework,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.” Vice Premier Liu He, a special envoy of China’s President Xi Jinping, said both sides agreed to stop “slapping tariffs” on each other and called his visit “positive, pragmatic, constructive and productive,” Xinhua reported. Cooperation will be enhanced in such areas as energy, agriculture, health care, high-tech products and finance, a “win-win” choice for both nations. The statement said China agreed to “meaningful increases in U.S. agriculture and energy exports” with details to be worked out later. While there’s still a long way to go in terms of specifics, the announcement that that a trade war will be averted should boost global stocks on Monday, according to Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney.
“Investors had been fretting,” Oliver said. “US energy, agriculture, manufacturing and services companies with significant exposure to exports to China will be key beneficiaries. But it’s also a big positive across Asia given supply chain linkages to Chinese companies that ultimately export to the US”
Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, will appear on US political talk shows on Sunday.
“There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the US 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 statement didn’t mention additional US 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.