Mood in Beijing about trade deal is pessimistic

Trump hosts a Cabinet meeting inside the Cabinet Room of the White House Nov 19 2019

In October, President Trump had claimed that that both countries had managed to negotiate a major phase one deal, and that a phase two deal was likely to be close at hand.

The two sides have held working-level video conferences focused on issues ranging from the details and timeline of Chinese purchases of USA agricultural goods to commitments to curtail theft of intellectual property that Trump is demanding from China, according to people familiar with the discussions. According to Chinese economists these restrictions are expected to continue by the USA despite a phase one trade deal, or even a complete trade deal.

The United States and China have been locked in successive waves of tit-for-tat tariffs that have roiled financial markets and threatened to drag growth in the global economy to its lowest rate since the 2007-2008 financial crisis. "I'm very happy with China right now", Trump said during a press spray at a cabinet meeting. The two sides were close to a deal about six months ago, only for talks to collapse, with the U.S. claiming that China backed away from previous agreements.

In his remarks Tuesday, Trump said "we will see what happens" regarding the potential trade deal.

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Sticking points include how and when to reduce tariffs and how much US agricultural products China would commit to buy. As per UBS, China is predicted to grow at more than 5.5 per cent in the coming year, if the United States does not add to the tariffs on Chinese goods.

The existing tariffs on around $500 billion of Chinese goods appear to be the stumbling block.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Sunday the two sides had "constructive discussions" about "each other's core concerns" and agreed to remain in close contact. "If we don't make a deal with China, I'll just raise the tariffs even higher".

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