Trade war: It's not right time for negotiations with China, says Trump

US President Donald Trump said it’s not the right time for trade negotiations with China, denting expectations for a near term deal after a breakthrough agreement between the US and Mexico.

Speaking to reporters during his announcement Monday of the new Mexico accord, Trump said he is rejecting overtures from China to negotiate as he tries to achieve a less “one-sided” trade policy. “They want to talk,” Trump said. But “it’s just not the right time to talk right now, to be honest.”

Trump’s remarks are his latest in recent weeks to suggest he doesn’t see a quick end to trade tensions with China, stoking concerns in Beijing that his actions are part of a wider plan to contain the nation’s rise. Fears are growing that the spat between the world’s biggest economies may spill over into geopolitical flash points, from North Korea to Taiwan.

Negotiations between the US and China have been stalled since May, when Trump put a stop to a deal for China to buy more energy and agricultural goods to narrow the trade deficit. After mid-level trade talks in Washington last week ended with no agreement, a person familiar with the discussions said that Chinese officials had raised the prospect of suspending talks until after US congressional elections in November.

The US and Mexico agreed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trump called on Canada to join the deal soon or risk being left out. While share prices for South Korean and Japanese automakers gained amid expectations of reduced tariff risk, Mexico’s peso weakened 0.4 per cent against the dollar in Asian trading on Tuesday, paring about half its Monday climb.

“It could be because a dose of reality is sinking in after the initial euphoria,” said Mitul Kotecha, senior emerging-markets strategist in Singapore at TD Securities. “There is still some way to go before the deal is concluded, including political hurdles in both the US and Mexico and the question of how Canada will be added to a broader deal.” The Mexico breakthrough will embolden Trump’s trade hawks to double down on demands for concessions from China, according to Rob Carnell and Prakash Sakpal, economists at ING Bank NV in Singapore.

“So as far as China and Asia are concerned, this new Mexico deal solves nothing,” they wrote in a note. “It strengthens the US position to play hard-ball with China. This doesn’t look good for the region.”

US slaps impose duty on China 

The US Commerce Department said on Monday it had made a preliminary determination that imports of certain steel wheels from China were subsidized at rates ranging from 58.75 per cent to 172.51 per cent, and it would impose duties on the product. 

“As a result of today’s decision, Commerce will instruct US Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of certain steel wheels from China based on these preliminary rates,” the department said in a statement.

As US-China trade war grows, Europe tries to avoid crisis

In the shadow of an escalating trade war, momentum is picking up to protect the World Trade Organization from turning irrelevant. The EU will host trade ministers from the US and Japan next month in Brussels, according to two officials with knowledge of the meeting.

The gathering will be part of an effort to address China’s trade practices in a way that doesn’t marginalize the WTO. The meeting will precede about 10 high-level confabs around the globe over the next year aimed at calming trade tensions. The push to reform the Geneva-based WTO has gained urgency since Donald Trump became president.

UN court has no jurisdiction in Iran sanctions case: US

The United States told UN judges today they had no jurisdiction to rule on Tehran's demand for them to order the suspension of debilitating nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

US State Department lawyer Jennifer Newstead told the court in The Hague that the 1955 treaty under which Iran has challenged the sanctions "cannot... provide a basis for this court's jurisdiction".

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