China's Xi Jinping pledges to cut auto tariffs amid United States trade clash

Saul Bowman
April 10, 2018

Trump campaigned on promises to bring down America's massive trade deficit - $566 billion past year - by rewriting trade agreements and cracking down on what he called abusive practices by USA trading partners.

U.S. stock market has been performing poorly recently on fears of the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu promised at the World Economic Forum in January that China would roll out fresh market openings this year, and that it would lower auto import tariffs in an "orderly way". His speech did not specifically mention the United States or its trade policies, which have been assailed by Chinese state media in recent days.

A general view of at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, an automated cargo wharf, in Shanghai on April 9, 2018.

Mnuchin said that Trump and Xi have a "very close relationship" and that the two countries would continue to discuss trade issues.

Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said at the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern province of Hainan, that Beijing did not want to fight a trade war, but was not afraid of one.

China on Monday said trade talks with the United States were impossible under the current circumstances and said Washington is to blame for the trade war between the two countries, Reuters reported. While the speech offered little new policy, Xi affirmed or expanded on proposals to increase imports, lower foreign-ownership limits on manufacturing and expand protection to intellectual property - all central issues in Trump's trade gripes.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said Tuesday that trade issues between the US and China won't get resolved soon and warned of potential damage if the dispute is prolonged.

But Trump administration officials have stressed that the tariffs are not yet in place and the dispute could be resolved through talks. China has already proposed new tariffs on $50 billion of United States goods and threatened to retaliate further.

None of the measures have yet gone into effect.

"There is no way for us to address China without absorbing some pain here", Graham said.

"Some people in the United States are still accustomed to being the world leader, and haven't adapted to the change in the global situation", Cui said.

Bad timing for trade warThis year USA farm income is forecast by USDA to be half of what it was in 2013.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, suggested lawmakers may need to consider what he called a "Trump Tariff Payment" to compensate farmers if their crops face retaliation.

A worker takes a sample from an incoming truckload of soybeans at Peterson Farms Seed facility in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S. on December 6, 2017.

"This year, we will considerably reduce auto import tariffs, and at the same time reduce import tariffs on some other products", Mr Xi said.

Asian markets mostly rose but stayed within a narrow range in subdued trading Tuesday as global investors continued to weigh their fears about a possible trade war between the USA and China. That said, China's proposed tariff on US soybeans is disconcerting for Iowa farmers poised to plant this year's crop.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., told Fox News Sunday he doesn't oppose tariffs on China, but Trump's approach looks like "chaos", and has "left a lot of Americans with uncertainty".

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