A temporary ceasefire

So, as the Financial Times says, “Donald Trump, the US president, and Xi Jinping, China’s president, are facing hurdles in building on the fragile truce they reached in their trade war, after the two countries left many thorny issues unresolved and offered different interpretations of the agreement … [because] … In a much-anticipated working dinner in Buenos Aires following the G20 summit, Mr Trump and Mr Xi agreed on Saturday to a temporary ceasefire, in which the US president suspended his decision to impose higher tariffs on Chinese imports next year … [but, the FT says] … the bare-bones agreement will trigger a new round of talks over the coming months between Washington and Beijing that are bound to be fraught with pitfalls, as the two countries aim to tackle some of the more sensitive issues, including ownership and access to technology and intellectual property.

I agree with former US trade negotiator Wendy Cutler who says that ““This is a welcome step, but the process is far from over. Now all eyes shift from the dinner table to the negotiating table to see whether the US and China can actually reach a meaningful deal.”” I have discussed, a few weeks ago, why “The Trump administration’s approach to these negotiations has made it all but impossible for Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a deal. Until that changes, there’s no end in sight for the tariff-for-tariff tussle between the two countries, and little chance of achieving Donald Trump’s stated goals.” Xi Jinping has his own, domestic political agenda, just as President Tump does, that will make useful compromises very, very difficult to achieve.

But, for now, the good news is that we have a six months ‘ceasefire.’ Perhaps it can be extended … while that truce, however temporary it might be, is in effect Canada should be negotiating hard to bring about free(er) trade with China.

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