The Chinese government says it will push forward trade negotiations with the United States in the next 90 days, expressing “confidence” that an agreement can be reached even as concerns remain over whether the two sides can resolve their deep differences.
An ongoing trade war has seen both countries impose duties on billions of dollars of one another’s goods.
Over the weekend, a temporary truce was agreed between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 meeting in Argentina.
The announcement on Wednesday followed a period of relative quiet from Beijing after Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, reached a temporary truce in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies over the weekend.
The two leaders, who met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Argentina, also decided to hold off on new tariffs and give negotiators three months to strike an agreement.
This prevented a widely expected escalation in the trade war. Tariffs already imposed on Chinese goods had been due to rise at the start of the year and additional tariffs had also been threatened.
In a brief statement, China’s commerce ministry described the two sides’ discussions as “successful”, adding it was “confident” of their agreement’s implementation.
“The economics and trade teams of both sides will actively push forward negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and roadmap,” it said, in the first public acknowledgement by the Chinese government of the 90-day timeline.
“China will start with the implementation of the specific matters in which consensus has been reached, the sooner the better,” it added, without providing more details.
The US has said that China’s “unfair” trade practices have helped create a lofty trade deficit and accuses China of intellectual property theft.
It has imposed $250bn of tariffs on Chinese goods since July.
China accuses the US of launching the “largest trade war in economic history”.
It has retaliated with duties on some $110bn worth of goods.
But as the dispute between the two largest economies has broadened, many believe the trade war is part of a broader power struggle between the two superpowers.
For their part, Trump and White House officials have promoted the apparent US-China agreement in Buenos Aires as a historic breakthrough that would ease trade tensions and potentially reduce tariffs – even though Beijing has not confirmed that it made most of the concessions that the Trump administration has claimed.
According to the White House, China has agreed to buy a “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the US to reduce a yawning trade gap, as well as to negotiate over Washington’s assertions that Beijing steals American technology.
“President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so.”
Trump added that a 90-day timetable for negotiators to reach a deeper agreement had begun and that his aides would see “whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible”.