Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US, China in tariffs truce after G20

US, China in tariffs truce after G20

US, China in tariffs truce after G20

The US and China on Saturday announced a ceasefire in their tariffs war, hours after US President Donald Trump upended another international forum by snubbing G20 action on trade disputes and climate change.

Over a dinner of steaks and Argentine wine in Buenos Aires, Trump and President Xi Jinping brokered a truce to ensure that – for now – there will be no further escalation to their tit-for-tat imposition of tariffs on goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Trump withdrew his threat to raise the US tariffs even more on January 1, in return for a promise from China to buy more US goods and enter into a 90-day period of talks to resolve their differences.

Those include market access for US companies and protecting their intellectual property from theft by Chinese rivals.

Absent agreement in that time, tariffs now set at 10 per cent will be raised to 25 per cent, according to a White House statement.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the US and China,” Trump said in the statement, released as he flew home from a stormy trip spent accosting his fellow leaders at the world’s pre-eminent economic forum.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Buenos Aires: “It is conducive not only to the development of the two countries and the well-being of the Chinese and American people, but also to stable growth of the world economy.”

The US-China trade war sparked warnings at the G20 of the cost to the global economy if it continued unabated. Not long before the Trump-Xi dinner, the annual summit concluded in the Argentine capital with a watered-down statement.

The G20 communique was finally adopted after all-night haggling by negotiators ensured that the summit in crisis-hit Argentina at least finished with a joint platform, unlike recent G7 and Asia-Pacific summits where Trump’s objections caused unprecedented breakdowns.

Apart from the US, all other G20 members agreed to implement the “irreversible” Paris Agreement on climate change, ahead of a UN summit on the planetary threat starting next week in Poland, it said.

But it said the “US reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” mirroring the divergence seen last year when Trump shocked the global community by bucking the consensus at his first G20.

The statement also omitted pledges by the G20 to fight protectionism and uphold multilateral trading rules, which used to be a mainstay of the world’s leading economies pre-Trump.

Instead, it merely recognised the “contribution” of the “multilateral trading system,” and added that it was “falling short” in goals of growth and job creation.

“The US, which is the most open economy in the world, does not accept being shackled,” the summit’s host, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, told a news conference.

The G20 agreed to reform the World Trade Organisation, which is accused by Trump of limiting US commercial freedoms to the advantage of China and other rivals.

But the conclusions were dismissed as “the lowest common denominator” by Thomas Bernes, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Canada who used to be a G20 negotiator for the Canadian government.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.