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Asia markets rise after USA and China agree to trade truce

05 December 2018

After the two-and-a-half hour discussion, a statement from the White House announced the U.S. will leave tariffs on $200 billion (£157bn) worth of Chinese imports at 10% at the beginning of the new year, agreeing not to raise them to 25% "at this time".

"I do not think market consensus is looking for very significant progress, this is a temporary truce", Masamichi Adachi senior economist at JP Morgan in Japan said.

The United States has agreed to keep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods at 10 percent, which will not increase automatically to 25 percent beginning next year.

US-made vehicle brands like Tesla Inc and Ford Motor Co's Lincoln were at a major disadvantage as the move came soon after China slashed auto import tariffs for the wider market to 15 percent from 25 percent. In July, Trump said he was willing to slap tariffs on every single Chinese import if China did not agree to an acceptable trade deal.

The White House called the meeting "highly successful", saying the US will leave existing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods at 10 percent and refrain from raising that rate to 25 percent as planned on January 1.

China's factory activity grew slightly in November, a private survey showed on Monday, though new export orders extended their decline in a further blow to the sector already hurt by the Sino-U.S. trade frictions.

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Trump appeared to be unaware of the significance of his words on Monday, tweeting: 'My meeting in Argentina with President Xi of China was an extraordinary one.

Mnuchin said the negotiations with China would be led by Trump, with an "inclusive team" of administration officials, including himself and other cabinet officials.

According to a statement from the White House, China will purchase a "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance.

The US leader tweeted on Sunday that China had agreed to scale back tariffs on cars, but he did not explain which would be removed and which would be reduced.

The Buenos Aires deal shows that both sides are aware that the tariffs could damage the global economy, it said.

The increases come after the U.S. and China said they had agreed to not increase tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks.

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Since July, the United States has imposed tariffs on $250bn (£195.9bn) worth of Chinese goods.

Major US automakers said they were unaware of the lower tariffs on exports to China. And China's leader will likely expect compromise on complex territorial issues like Taiwan or the South China Sea before the ceasefire will begin to look like a full-fledged peace accord.

In his Twitter roundup of weekend doings, Trump talked of halting the arms race.

Mnuchin, in an interview with CNBC on Monday, put a US$1.2 trillion price tag on China's additional trade commitments, but emphasized the details of how they get there still need to be negotiated.

United States markets initially gained more than 1% on Monday, but the enthusiasm dimmed a bit later, as it remained unclear how the two countries will resolve their underlying differences.

"This agreement at least postpones further escalation in the trade war, avoiding an outcome that would have roiled financial markets", Eurasia Group analysts wrote in a research note.

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Carmakers were dealt a blow back in July when they were forced to hike prices after China raised tariffs on U.S. auto imports to 40 percent. The US spent 716 Billion Dollars this year.

Asia markets rise after USA and China agree to trade truce