China will increase its purchase of American goods and services in order to reduce the multibillion-dollar trade imbalance with the United States, the two countries said in a joint statement Saturday.
Trump administration officials had said during negotiations this week that China was prepared to make up to $200 billion in additional purchases. Notably absent from Saturday’s announcement were any dollar figures — or a sense of the scale of the agreed-upon increases.
The announcement Saturday made no reference to whether the Trump administration would walk away from tariffs imposed this year on roughly $50 billion of Chinese imports. But Liu He, an economic adviser who led the negotiations for China, suggested that both sides would stop recently imposed tariffs, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency.
“They are meeting many of our demands,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Friday as he discussed the possibility of “at least $200 billion” in additional purchases.
>Chinese media contested the concessions. The Foreign Ministry denied Friday that it had offered to reduce its trade deficit with the United States by the $200 billion amount, and on Saturday the state-run People’s Daily, considered a mouthpiece for the Chinese government, called the reports “a misunderstanding.”
After taking a tough stance on China in recent months, President Trump has appeared open to relaxing penalties against ZTE, posting to Twitter last weekend that too many jobs had been lost.
The comments provoked a sharp backlash from hard-liners within the administration and lawmakers across the political spectrum, who saw concessions to the Chinese on ZTE as infringing on the rule of law and potentially endangering national security.
China will likely buy more soybeans. But they were going to do that anyway.
Would it be too much to ask precisely what US demands have been met?
Then again, backing down from silly trade wars is a success in and of itself.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock