by Steve Herman
OSAKA, JAPAN – U.S. President Donald Trump says he will hold off on imposing additional tariffs on China after a meeting with President Xi Jinping that resulted in the stalled trade negotiations getting “right back on track.”
Speaking Saturday at a wide-ranging news conference at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump said he will also allow American companies to sell to Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant whose software U.S. intelligence has warned could threaten U.S. national security.
As far as resolving the overall issue of Huawei, which the U.S. government wants to ban the country’s planned 5G cellular telephone networks, “we agreed to leave that to the end” of trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing.
No sanctions relief
The Chinese, however, are not getting relief from sanctions already imposed by the Trump administration.
“At least, for the time being, we won’t be lifting tariffs on China,” the U.S. president told the news conference.
“They would like to make a deal,” Trump said in assessing the Chinese following what he described as “a great meeting” with Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leaders’ summit.
In remarks at the start of the meeting, Xi said “China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in a confrontation. Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.”
Xi added that he wanted to exchange views with Trump “on the fundamental issues concerning the growth of China-U.S. relations so as to set the direction of our relationship.”
Even up trade
Trump, noting his “excellent relationship” with Xi, said “we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade. I think it’s something that’s very easy to do.”
The U.S. president noted that the two countries had been very close to achieving a historic trade agreement and then “something happened where it slipped a little bit.”
Trump added that regarding a fair trade deal, “we’re totally open to it. I know you’re totally open to it,” explaining that negotiations for both countries have been working hard to achieve that.
“I think we can go on to do something that truly will be monumental and great for both countries. And that’s what I look forward to doing.”
Top U.S. officials, in the days leading up to the meeting, had been skeptical about any immediate breakthrough and played down expectations of that.
Tariffs, tariff threats
Trump had threatened another $325 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, which would cover just about everything China exports to the United States that is not already covered by the current 25% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports.
China has slapped its own tariffs on U.S. products, including those produced by already financially strapped American farmers.
The latest round of talks broke down in May, when Washington accused Beijing of going back on its pledge to change Chinese laws to enact economic reforms.
Neither the United States nor China have indicated they will back down from their previous positions that led to the current stalemate.