Friday, 19 April, 2019


Asian stocks fall after Trump says no plans for Xi meeting

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump last met at a G20 summit in Buenos Aires Xi Jinping and Donald Trump last met at a G20 summit in Buenos Aires
Bennie Garza | 10 February, 2019, 15:01

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not expect to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline in trade war negotiations between the two economic superpowers.

However, amid pressure from the business community for the two sides to resolve the dispute, CNBC cited a senior administration official saying the March 1 deadline could be pushed back. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that he and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were going to China for another round of talks next week.

Time is running out for the USA and China to reach an agreement before the deadline the Trump administration has set to more than double tariffs on US$200 billion (S$271 billion) of Chinese goods.

Earlier, towards the end of January, President Trump revealed in a tweet that he would be expecting to meet his counterpart to negotiate on some of the most hard issues that the two countries have been holding for decades.

The S&P 500 Index closed down 0.93 percent in its biggest drop in two weeks.

Last week, at the end of the two days of talks, Trump said in a tweet: "No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more hard points".

Trump, who made the comments on Thursday during two days of negotiations between American and Chinese trade officials, suggested a face-to-face meeting could be combined with his trip to Asia later this month for a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reports The New York Times.

The US stock market has fallen in response to the news, with hopes of a swift trade pact between the two leaders quickly dampened.

Without one, the U.S. will increase the tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent.

United States stock markets staged their first major pull-back since the news broke early January that negotiations would resume in Washington. "They're making a mistake because they need to be prepared", he said.

Washington is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address unfair practices it says are deeply unfair, including theft of American intellectual property and the massive Chinese trade surplus. Though Washington continues to posit that the ban is entirely for cybersecurity in the U.S., Huawei, one of the largest producers of networking equipment in the world, continues to claim that its products are entirely safe, and that Trump is using claims of cybersecurity to prevent competition in the U.S. from Chinese telecommunications companies. China denies the accusations. Lighthizer told reporters last week that it was not certain a deal could be reached.

It's not clear what will happen if a trade deal isn't struck by the deadline.

"If we do make headway, and the president thinks we're close enough that he can close the deal on major issues, then I think he'll want to have a meeting and do that", he told reporters. Kudlow also indicated, however, that President Donald Trump is "optimistic with respect to a potential trade deal".

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