Chinese Firms Worry the US Trade War Thaw Could Be Shortlived

A woman walks past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a local bank in Hong Kong Wednesday Dec. 5 2018. Shares were moderatel

Trump says he wants to de-escalate trade tensions with China but insists on Beijing addressing long-standing issues such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, and tariffs and nontariff barriers.

"Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting", he said.

The president's optimism comes just after a day since he publicly declared himself a "Tariff Man", and stood by his protectionist trade policies even after stocks fell almost 800 points amid confusion over the result of Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump claimed China had agreed to slash its current 40 percent tariffs on US auto imports to zero.

China's government isn't yet able to formulate its response to the summit on trade with Trump as senior officials are still out of the country with Xi this week, according to three officials who were briefed but declined to be named as the matter isn't public.

Global markets on Monday cheered the weekend accord, only to reverse course on Tuesday as doubts emerged over exactly what the world's two largest economies had agreed on.

Trump said his team of trade advisers led by China trade hawk US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would determine whether a "REAL deal" with Beijing was possible.

One particularly damning tweet by Trump boasted, "I am a Tariff Man". But any such pact is not a guarantee, given deep divisions that remain between the countries and the administration's insistence that China end its practice of pressuring US companies to hand over valuable technology and trade secrets. China agreed to buy American agricultural, energy and industrial goods.

"Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward!"

China has said comparatively little about the Trump-Xi agreement after senior Chinese officials briefed the media following the meeting, and US and Chinese accounts of what the deal entails have sometimes differed.

Mr Trump has said China is supposed to start buying agricultural products immediately and cut its 40 per cent tariffs on United States vehicle imports.

Trump, however, has threatened to slap tariffs on auto imports from Europe and other countries, citing US trade deficits with those nations.

'All of these help to safeguard China's legitimate interests, and are also in the interests of the United States, and even more are in line with the expectations of the worldwide community, ' he added in a statement carried on the foreign ministry's website. Trump officials are putting pressure on Beijing to tone down its ambitions to lead in emerging industries such as artificial intelligence, a compromise for which Xi has shown no appetite. These practices, according to the administration and outside analysts, include stealing intellectual property and forcing companies to turn over technology to gain access to China's market.

Officials from the United States and a number of other major economies have often criticized China for its slow approach to negotiations and not following through on commitments.

Trump on Tuesday said a deal with China would probably happen, before bragging that his imposts on Chinese goods had added billions of dollars to the United States economy. "When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so", he added. Beijing, for example, didn't mention the 90-day deadline for talks on a deal over technology issues.

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