Conflicting Statements Put China-US Trade War Truce in Doubt

By Jonathan Zhong, December 6, 2018

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The temporary trade war truce between China and the United States, announced by the White House on Saturday, has hit a snag as uncertainty regarding the deal has been expressed by key White House players, like US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as well as investors.

On December 1, the White House released a statement announcing that presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump agreed to a temporary truce in the ongoing trade war following a “highly successful meeting.”

However, the statement appears to have offered a different account in comparison to the official statement from the Chinese side, causing many to take what President Trump has said with a grain of salt.

According to the US statement, the two countries agreed to a 90-day halt to the trade war during which they will seek to negotiate a fair trade deal, with Trump saying that he will postpone imposing a 25 percent tariff rate on USD200 billion worth of Chinese goods, while the Chinese statement did not mention these details.

READ MORE: US-China Trade War Comes to a Temporary Halt

Elsewhere, the US statement mentioned that China has agreed to immediately start buying products from US farmers, which the Chinese statement also failed to include.

A day after the meeting, Trump tweeted that China had “agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S.” but his aides revealed on December 4 that China had not made such a promise, with a top White House adviser saying “nobody knows what the deal is,” according to the Washington Post.

The differences in the statements given by either side have already materialized into a plunge in Asian stock prices as investors aren’t sure what route either side is taking in the truce, with politicians wondering whether there will indeed be a real deal at the end of the 90-day period, according to Politico.  

By the end of their trading day on December 5, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.61 percent to close at around RMB2,649.81 and the Shenzhen Composite Index slipped 0.484 percent to around RMB1,380.78, according to CNBC.  

[Cover image via Zhicheng.com]

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