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International Shipping
US and China leaders might settle trade row at upcoming meeting
Date:2019-03-08 Readers:

THE US and China leaders could meet towards the end of this month to end their year-long trade row after reaching the final stages of negotiating an agreement that would push Beijing into lowering tariffs on a range of US goods, provided the Trump administration scraps broad sanctions against China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, both sides believe talks have progressed far enough that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping could result in a formal agreement at a potential meeting. The report follows Mr Trump's recent comments that the two sides were "getting very, very close" to a deal and that he planned to meet President Xi at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

China's benchmark stock index, the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP), rose 2.5 per cent on Monday following the Wall Street Journal's report.

The article listed a range of elements the potential trade deal may cover, including lower Chinese tariffs on US agricultural, chemical and auto products, as well as the ongoing lowering of barriers to foreign investments, said CNN.

In addition, China would purchase more American goods in an attempt to narrow the US trade deficit.

The development follows a decision last week by the Trump administration to indefinitely postpone a looming increase in tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese exports.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers last week that Beijing needed to provide "specific, measurable" concessions that were "enforceable at all levels of the government".

"I'm not foolish enough to think there's one negotiation that's going to change all the practices with China or our relationship with them," said Mr Lighthizer. "I view this as a process."

Among the most contentious issues between the two countries are Beijing's aggressive industrial policies that pump huge sums of money into boosting homegrown companies in key sectors, and US complaints that China forces US companies to hand over valuable technology in order to do business in the country.

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