China-US trade: China vows speedy action on trade commitments

DEVELOPING: US-China trade uncertainty fuels market plunge

The White House and Beijing have essentially reached an agreement to pause the trade war for 90 days while the two sides try to reach a formal trade deal.

Beijing's commerce ministry said negotiators would "actively push forward negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and roadmap".

Declaring himself "Tariff Man", Mr. Trump warned China to make a trade deal - or else. "Unless extended, they will end 90 days from the date of our wonderful and very warm dinner with President Xi in Argentina", Mr Trump tweeted.

The White House on Monday had to correct a statement by economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who incorrectly told reporters in a conference call that the 90-day negotiating period between the USA and China would begin on January 1 instead of December 1. As part of his Twitter storm today, the USA president called himself "Tariff Man" and then proceeded to demonstrate his lack of basic understanding about how tariffs work, seemingly ignorant of the fact that tariffs are in effect a tax paid by domestic consumers, not foreign countries.

He later said China had committed to buying large amounts of United States agricultural products and completely removing all tariffs on U.S. automobiles, a huge shift from its current 40 per cent penalty.

The impact is actually less than that being felt in some other sectors of the US economy, such as agriculture, but it is still a hit to the auto industry which shipped about 250,000 vehicles to China past year.

For their part, Trump and White House officials have promoted the apparent US-China agreement in Buenos Aires as a historic breakthrough that would ease trade tensions and potentially reduce tariffs - even though Beijing has not confirmed that it made most of the concessions that the Trump administration has claimed.

In a "supremely ironic" move, China may even seek to negotiate entry to the TPP-11, which was originally conceived by the Obama Administration as part of pivot to Asia, and which may end up including China but not the USA itself, he said.

The president repeated his threat after the markets closed, saying if China doesn't make a deal, "we will be charging major Tariffs against Chinese product being shipped into the United States".

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Trump and Xi also agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, according to the White House statement.

"If it is, we will get it done", Mr Trump said in a Twitter post.

Mr Pompeo said in Brussels on Tuesday that the USA could abandon some worldwide agreements to thwart bad actors like China, which he accused of cynically exploiting World Trade Organisation rules. This fundamental misunderstanding of economics, combined with his reckless announcement of the detente that wasn't, scared investors and continues to undermine his administration's efforts at reaching a real trade deal with China.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump said he would "happily sign" a "fair deal" that addresses USA concerns, should one be reached with Beijing.

China has made no direct mention of specific goods it will buy. Leaders of the European Unionhave signaled they would echo the response of China, saddling US -made vehicles with new tariffs in response.

The ministry lauded Trump's talks with President Xi Jinping at the weekend as "successful" and said it was "confident" their agreement would be implemented.

While Trump has long championed the tariffs, even referring to them as "the greatest", they are ultimately a tax on American consumers that raise the cost of goods.

The White House's press release said that the People's Republic "will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products".

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