Trump, Xi hold face-to-face talks, may decide fate of trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sat down face-to-face on Saturday in Buenos Aires, with all eyes on whether they can thrash out a solution to escalating trade tensions between the two powers.

Trump is likely to urge Beijing to carry out concrete reforms to stem its alleged unfair business practices, including intellectual property and technology theft, while Xi may propose to end a trade war by accepting some requests made by Washington.

At their potential first face-to-face meeting since November last year, Xi could promise Trump that Beijing will purchase a large amount of U.S. products in an attempt to curb massive U.S. trade deficits with China, diplomatic sources said.

Since earlier this year, the world’s two biggest economies have been engaged in tit-for-tat rounds of punitive tariffs on each other’s imports. Sino-U.S. ties have sharply deteriorated, sparking fears that the two major powers could enter a «New Cold War.»

So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on $ 250 billion of Chinese imports — or about half the goods it imports from China each year — in response to Beijing’s alleged theft of intellectual property and technology, as well as other trade complaints.

In retaliation, China has levied tariffs on more than 80 percent of all goods imported from the United States.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports if he fails to «make a deal» with Xi.

Many economists have warned that intensifying trade strains between the United States and China would deal a crushing blow to the global economy, which has been on a recovery track.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing U.S. and Chinese officials, that the two sides are considering launching new talks looking at «big changes» in Chinese economic policy in return for Washington holding off on further tariffs through the spring.

Trump has expressed optimism about the prospects of the planned U.S.-China summit, saying on Friday, «We’re working very hard.»

«If we can make a deal, that’d be good. I think they want to, I think we’d like to,» Trump said, adding, «There’s some good signs. We’ll see what happens.»

All — Kyodo News+

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