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Trump declares a techno-trade war truce

This weekend, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a truce in the U.S.-China techno-trade war after his meeting with Xí Jìnpíng 习近平. This came on the same weekend as Trump’s made-for-TV impromptu meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the DMZ.

As Bloomberg notes: “The White House has yet to reveal details of Trump’s arrangement with Xi, leaving uncertainty about how the two countries will proceed.” Official China is almost completely silent: For example, there are no reports on the Xi-Trump meeting on Xinhua News Agency’s home page today.

This is what the two sides have publicly said, abridged from this Bloomberg side-by-side comparison:

  • The U.S. won’t raise tariffs on China “for the time being,” said Trump, which was confirmed by Beijing. No new timeline has been announced.
  • The two sides will restart talks, but Trump threatened future tariffs if no deal is made. Beijing said that negotiators will discuss “specific issues,” and that talks must be “equal, reflect mutual respect and address respective concerns.”
  • Trump said China will buy a “tremendous” amount of food and agricultural products from a list provided by the U.S. There was no confirmation from Beijing.
  • The Huawei issue “must be saved to the very end,” said Trump, but the U.S. will make a concession and allow U.S. companies to sell to Huawei. There was no mention of Huawei in China’s written statement, but a Chinese official later said he “hoped the U.S. would follow through lift restrictions.”
  • Chinese students: Trump said the U.S. will make it easier for Chinese students to stay and that there are many good Chinese students and “he’s always welcomed them,” while  Beijing hoped Chinese students in the U.S. would be “treated fairly.”

For more on Trump’s view of the truce, see his interview with his sycophant-in-chief, Tucker Carlson, on Fox News. The official Chinese read on the Xi-Trump meeting is summarized in this Xinhua infographic.

Other reporting and commentary on the truce

Huawei and HSBC 

The Financial Times reports (paywall):

HSBC has launched a lobbying effort to convince the Chinese government that it was not responsible for the arrest of Huawei’s finance director, as the bank tries to distance itself from the diplomatic row over China’s top telecoms equipment maker.

The UK-listed bank stepped up engagement with Chinese officials after the arrest in Canada in December of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, according to several people briefed on the discussions.

Australia

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

[Australian] Prime Minister Scott Morrison will set out a more assertive Australian stance on the growing trade war between China and the United States in a new warning about the threat of “coercive power” that damages the global economy.


Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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