0100 GMT April 17, 2021
Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs Jan. 1 on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese agreed to buy a ‘not yet agreed upon, but very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial’ and other products from the United States to reduce America's huge trade deficit with China, the White House said, AP wrote.
The truce, reached after a dinner of more than two hours Saturday, buys time for the two countries to work out their differences in a dispute over Beijing's aggressive drive to supplant US technological dominance.
"It's an incredible deal," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
"What I'll be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up, China will be getting rid of tariffs. China will be buying massive amounts of products from us."
In a long-sought concession to the US, China agreed to label fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid responsible for tens of thousands of American drug deaths annually, as a controlled substance. And Beijing agreed to reconsider a takeover by US chipmaker Qualcomm that it had previously blocked.
The White House announcement framed a victory for Trump and his unflinching negotiating tactics, securing a commitment from China to engage in talks on key US economic priorities, with little obvious concession by the US. Notably, however, the White House appears to be reversing course on its previous threats to tie trade discussions to security concerns, like China's attempted territorial expansion in the South China Sea.
"It's great the two sides took advantage of this opportunity to call a truce," said Andy Rothman, investment strategist at Matthews Asia.
"The two sides appear to have had a major change of heart to move away from confrontation toward engagement. This changes the tone and direction of the bilateral conversation."
The Trump-Xi meeting was the marquee event of Trump's whirlwind two-day trip to Argentina for the G-20 summit after the president canceled a sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin over mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Trump also canceled a Saturday news conference, citing respect for the Bush family following the death of former President George H.W. Bush.
Trump said Bush's death put a ‘damper’ on what he described as a ‘very important meeting’ with Xi.
The United States and China are locked in a dispute over their trade imbalance and Beijing's tech policies. Washington accuses China of deploying predatory tactics in its tech drive, including stealing trade secrets and forcing American firms to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
Trump has imposed import taxes on $250 billion in Chinese products — 25 percent on $50 billion worth and 10 percent on the other $200 billion. Trump had planned to raise the tariffs on the $200 billion to 25 percent if he couldn't get a deal with Xi.
China has already slapped tariffs on $110 billion in US goods.
Under the agreement reached in Buenos Aires, the two countries have 90 days to resolve their differences over Beijing's tech policies. If they can't, the higher US tariffs will go into effect on the $200 billion in Chinese imports.
US officials insist that the American economy is more resilient to the tumult than China's, but they remain anxious of the economic effects of a prolonged showdown — as Trump has made economic growth the benchmark by which he wants his administration judged.
A full-blown resolution was not expected to be reached in Buenos Aires; the issues that divide them are just too difficult.