China and the United States will face a long road before they can reach a deal to end their bitter trade war, with more fights ahead likely, Chinese state media says after the two countries’ presidents held ice-breaking talks in Japan.
The world’s two largest economies are in the midst of a bitter trade war, which has seen them level increasingly severe tariffs on each other’s imports.
In a sign of significant progress in relations on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, agreed to a ceasefire and a return to talks.
However, the official China Daily, an English-language daily often used by Beijing to put its message out to the rest of the world, warned while there was now a greater likelihood of reaching an agreement, there’s no guarantee there would be one.
“Even though Washington agreed to postpone levying additional tariffs on Chinese goods to make way for negotiations, and Trump even hinted at putting off decisions on Huawei until the end of negotiations, things are still very much up in the air,” it said in an editorial late on Saturday.
“Agreement on 90 per cent of the issues has proved not to be enough, and with the remaining 10 per cent where their fundamental differences reside, it is not going to be easy to reach a 100-per cent consensus, since at this point, they remain widely apart even on the conceptual level.”
Trump said he was “in no hurry” to cut a trade deal but promised he would not increase existing tariffs to China.
“I am in no hurry, but things look very good,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter, referring to ongoing talks between Washington and Beijing.
“The quality of the transaction is far more important to me than speed.”
Trump also offered an olive branch to Xi on Huawei Technologies Co, the world’s biggest telecom network equipment maker. The Trump administration has said the Chinese firm poses a national security risk given its close ties to China’s government, and has lobbied US allies to keep Huawei out of next-generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure.
The pause in tensions is likely to be welcomed by the business community, and markets, which have swooned on both sides of the Pacific due to the trade war.
Jacob Parker, vice-president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council, said returning to talks was good news for the business community and added much needed certainty to “a slowly deteriorating relationship”.
“Now comes the hard work of finding consensus on the most difficult issues in the relationship, but with a commitment from the top we’re hopeful this will put the two sides on a sustained path to resolution.”