US wants ‘concrete’ trade action from China

Donald Trump threatened to slap a range of import penalties on Chinese products if they didn't make major changes in their economic relationship with the US

President Donald Trump declared himself "Tariff Man" in a tweet that contributed to investors' fears about the tenuous US-China trade truce.

The United States agreed to put on hold a scheduled increase in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods due to come into effect on January 1, following talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a gathering of world leaders in Argentina. The move, if verified, would hand automakers from Tesla Inc.to Daimler AG and BMW AG a potential reprieve after higher levies hit sales in the world's biggest vehicle market.

The president also confirmed that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has been critical of China in the past, will lead the negotiations with the help of other administration officials.

In a briefing to reporters, he also said the United States did not yet have a "specific agreement" on auto tariffs.

There are several significant take-aways from this development, including the argument that Trump's hard line, even at times belligerent stance with Beijing, has caused them to blink first, particularly since economic growth in China has already started to feel the brunt of USA tariffs, while US economic growth, though not as robust as a few months ago, is still strong. But the magnitude and timing of such a reduction were unclear, the person said.

As reported by Reuters, fresh concerns are on the rise surrounding the temporary US-China truce that was struck over the weekend.

The continental renminbi, which trades on the second biggest economy's domestic market, has risen by 1.8 percent in price during the first two days of the week, Refinitiv data suggested.

Global investors, who had feared for months that a protracted trade war could hurt economic growth, seemed to cheer the cease-fire on Monday, but U.S. markets slid back on Tuesday as it became clear that there were few concrete commitments that came out of the discussions so far.

Tesla didn't respond to an email seeking comment while BMW's China unit didn't offer an immediate comment on Trump's tweet.

Trump said China had committed to buying large amounts of US agricultural products and completely removing all tariffs on US automobiles a huge shift from its current 40 per cent penalty although China hasn't confirmed this

"Tariffs on USA soybeans might drop as the two sides enter a honeymoon period". That's because the German luxury brands dominate the top 10 list of vehicle imports into China.

On Monday, influential Chinese tabloid the Global Times said it understood China and the United States will further discuss moves at expanding market access, intellectual property protection, avoiding compulsory technology transfers, and joint control of cyber crime.

Chinese carmaker shares pared gains, while shares of auto dealerships in China and Hong Kong rallied on Trump's tweet.

His comments relate to the 40% tariff China imposes on U.S. vehicle imports, which were brought in as part of the trade battle in July. The U.S. now charges a 27.5 per cent tax on imported cars from China.

While Trump hails tariffs as money-makers, critics note that tariffs are mostly paid for by U.S. consumers as the costs of Chinese imports rises. China imported 280,208 vehicles, or 10 per cent of total imported cars, from the USA last year, according to China's Passenger Car Association.

He added that Xi has sought to control the Indo-Pacific region, where the USA previously had significance.

The U.S. embassy in Beijing posted a Chinese version of the White House's readout of the meeting on the popular WeChat platform on social media, but reposting it was not possible.

For Tesla, a tariff cut will provide a boon until the company sets up local production.

China only recently signaled that it may back off from its strict foreign ownership requirements for auto factories.

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