President Donald Trump has agreed to hold off on leveling new tariffs on China…for now. After meeting with President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit, and having a “great meeting,” Trump has agreed not to level tariffs on the additional $350 billion worth of goods that could still be targeted. President Trump said that negotiations are back on track and that negotiators are picking up where they left off.
Trade negotiations had first broken down in May. Back in April, a deal had seemed all but imminent, with China appearing willing to make several major concessions. Then talks suddenly collapsed. China claimed that the United States was pushing too far and was making additional demands. The United States claimed that China was walking back on already agreed-upon concessions.
With talks resuming, will there be progress? That remains to be seen. The United States wants China to make several major concessions, including increased protections for American intellectual property and more access for American companies looking to enter China’s markets.
Most likely, the agreed-upon truce won’t produce any immediate breakthroughs in talks. However, the de-escalation could soothe global markets, which have been rattled by the trade dispute already. China and the United States have deeply intertwined supply chains and are dependent on one another for trade.
While President Trump sounded optimistic that a deal would ultimately be reached, he did cauition reporters that “we’ll see what happens.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that back in May, a deal was already 90 percent in place when talks collapsed with the remaining 10 percent proving all but impossible to agree upon. It’s unclear if enough has changed for either side for that 10 percent to become less of a factor.