Trade war: Trump halts new tariffs on China after talks with Xi at G20

US President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan. Photo: Reuters
President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping agreed to another truce in their trade war Saturday, removing an immediate threat looming over the global economy even as a lasting peace remains elusive.

The two sides have agreed to restart trade negotiations that broke down last month, Xinhua News Agency reported, adding that the U.S. agreed to put no new tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump said the U.S. would release a statement around 3:30 p.m. local time.

“We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China,” Trump told reporters after the meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan. “Excellent. I would say excellent. As good as it was going to be. We discussed a lot of things and we’re right back on track.”

The return to the negotiating table ends a six-week stalemate that has unnerved companies and investors, and at least temporarily reduces fears that the world’s two largest economies are headed into a new cold war. Still, it’s unclear whether they can overcome differences that led to the collapse of a previous truce reached at last year’s G-20.

Concern about the standoff has prompted investors to bet on central-bank easing, and pile into havens. Treasury yields have tumbled to their lowest level in years. The Japanese yen, a traditional beneficiary of flight to quality, has gained, while the U.S. dollar has slipped across the board, including against China’s yuan. Stocks have seesawed on each new twist in the trade tug-of-war.

Since the talks collapsed on May 10, Trump has raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%. In recent days, he had indicated that the next step could be a 10% tariff on all remaining imports from China -- some $300 billion-worth, from smartphones to children’s clothes.

Another big hurdle, referenced elliptically by both leaders on Friday, is last month’s U.S. blacklisting of Huawei Technologies Co. on national security grounds, which threatens to cut off the Chinese giant’s access to American technology.

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