China, US reportedly near resolution to ZTE dispute

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President Trump dented fragile confidence that the United States and China will avert a global trade war yesterday by warning that it may be too hard for the world's two largest economies to strike an agreement.

"Our Trade Deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion", Trump tweeted.

When the gloves came off recently, with the United States unilaterally announcing tariffs on US$50-billion worth of Chinese imports followed by another US$100-billion, Beijing reacted swiftly with similar countermeasures.

On Thursday, the Trump comments on China trade talks and the launch of a U.S. national security probe into United States auto imports dented shares of Asian automakers.

"U.S. soybean farmers welcome the news that the United States and China have reached a general consensus on some aspects of trade between the two countries, and we look forward to learning the specifics about how U.S. agricultural trade will play an important role in improving the Sino-U.S. trade imbalance", Arkansas soybean farmer Derek Haigwood, chairman of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said in a statement.

If there is more agricultural buying from China, it could benefit not only soybeans but other USA agricultural commodities and be good news for Republicans as midterm elections approach.

Ross plans to visit Beijing in early June to hammer out the details of the trade deal with China and how it would increase its purchases of American goods - particularly of energy and farming products - his office said on Tuesday.

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On the other hand, the question of how much time it will take for China and the U.S. to reduce the trade deficit remains elusive.

China is aggressively pursuing its territorial claims in the South China Sea - including by militarizing disputed areas and pushing its borders far out into global waters - despite an worldwide arbitral ruling invalidating them.

China would not be able to reach this target by completely new imports but would need to substitute imports from other parts of the world, including the European Union, Japan and Korea, with U.S. imports, said Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Chief Economist for the Asia Pacific at Natixis, a French corporate and investment bank.

President Donald Trump invoked a provision authorizing the president to restrict imports and impose unlimited tariffs on national security grounds.

Ross seemed surprised last week at Trump's demand to reopen a case settled only weeks earlier, and resistant to treat ZTE's fate as a bargaining chip on trade rather than a straightforward enforcement matter. In an interview with Bloomberg, Dan DiMicco, the former chief executive of the steel company, Nucor, said it did not "make sense" to have the treasury secretary negotiating trade policy, as this was the USA trade representative's job.

The Financial Times reports U.S. "We're looking at the possibility of things turning around here".

"Export control and sanctions laws should not be negotiable, because fidelity to the rule of law is a key part of what distinguishes the U.S. from a country like China that is ruled by a Communist dictatorship", the letter said. In tweets earlier this week, he said: "China is out-negotiating the administration and winning the trade talks right now".

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Roughly one-third of all US vehicle imports a year ago were from Asia. And Brazilian soybeans last week were quoted at prices below USA cargoes.

More recently, Trump moved the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite a broad worldwide consensus to determine the contested city's status within the context of broader negotiations on a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Any such move would bolster China's aggressive military modernization and significantly underline long-term USA national security interests".

Eric Schweitzer said in a statement Thursday: "We should nearly regard this as a provocation".

Trump has frequently lambasted China's high import duties on foreign cars.

Trump on Tuesday, however, told reporters he was not pleased with recent talks, calling them "a start".

Passenger cars make up around 30 percent of Japan's total exports to the United States and Tokyo has already threatened Washington with retaliation at the World Trade Organization for the steel tariffs.

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