At 10:09 a.m. this morning, Donald Trump tweeted:
Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade. Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!
- The call was confirmed by Chinese state media — the Xinhua readout of the call is here (in Chinese). CCTV quoted Xi as saying that “China and the US have precedents of resolving difficult trade and economic issues through dialogue. The economic teams of both sides must step up communication and coordination on issues of their concern to put forward a proposal acceptable to both sides,” SCMP reports.
- Also sounding a conciliatory note was Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who said that “nothing is set in stone right now…if some kind of amicable deal with China were to happen, then a lot of tariffs might be pulled back.”
- Then a few hours later at 1:30 p.m., the Justice Department unveiled another indictment against China for technology theft. This one (press release; full indictment) directly accused the Taiwanese company UMC and Chinese company Fujian Jinhua of conspiring to steal dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) technology from the Boise, Idaho-based Micron Technology.
- Two days ago, the U.S. Commerce Department issued an export ban on Fujian Jinhua.
- Just yesterday, the Justice Department indicted 10 Chinese nationals, including two intelligence officials and six hackers, for stealing American and European aerospace technology secrets.
- American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the clearly “multi-pronged” effort of the U.S. to pressure China aims to “convince China to behave like a normal nation on commerce.”
More trade war and U.S.-China relations news:
- Concerns from Germany
Exclusive: German firms urged to cut dependence on China / Reuters
“A new strategy paper from Germany’s influential BDI industry federation calls on firms to reduce their dependence on the Chinese market, according to a draft seen by Reuters, in a sign of rising concern over Beijing’s state-driven economic model.”
- China International Import Expo
Ahead of import fair, EU calls for concrete opening steps from China / Reuters
“The European Union on Thursday called for China to take concrete steps to further open its market to foreign firms and provide a level playing field, saying it would not sign up to any political statement at next week’s major import fair in Shanghai.”
Opinion: Will Shanghai become milestone for China’s opening-up? / by Jean-Maurice Ripert and Clemens von Goetze in Caixin
“Following President Xi’s speeches in Davos and Bo’ao, we have already seen a number of promising steps like the gradual lifting of equity requirements in the automotive and finance industries and a substantial reduction of import duties. But more needs to be done. European businesses should have the same opportunities in China as Chinese industries enjoy in Europe.”
- Agricultural commodities
China slashed its imports of US sorghum, soybean, and corn in September / Reuters
“China imported 80 percent less U.S. sorghum in September and upped its Brazilian imports of soybeans by 28 percent, according to new data from China’s General Administration of Customs.”
- South China Sea
Beijing opens weather stations on artificial islands in South China Sea / SCMP
“China opened weather observation stations on three of its artificial islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday, according to state media. They are located on the Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs in the contested Spratly Islands.”
China should stick to code of conduct at sea: US Navy chief / SCMP
US World War II base to be rebuilt as China courts Pacific chums / WSJ (paywall)
“Australia and Papua New Guinea agreed on Thursday to upgrade the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island, to Australia’s north. It is a move likely to give U.S. and Australian forces greater access to a port in the South Pacific and to the southern approaches to the disputed waters of the South China Sea.”
BlackRock’s Fink says US, China on path to ‘full-fledged’ trade war / Reuters
Previously in SupChina’s trade war coverage: