Business

Report: Won’t be easy for US, China to reach consensus

Chinese media says there is no guarantee of a deal and warns of more fights ahead

BEIJING/OSAKAP: China and the US will face a long road before they can reach a deal to end their bitter trade war, with more fights ahead likely, Chinese state media said after the two countries' leaders held ice-breaking talks in Japan.

The world's two largest economies are in the midst of a bitter trade war. In a sign of significant progress on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, agreed to a ceasefire and return to talks.

However, the official China Daily, an English-language daily often used by Beijing to put its message out to the rest of the world, warned while there was now a greater likelihood of reaching an agreement, there is no guarantee there would be one.

"Even though Washington agreed to postpone levying additional tariffs on Chinese goods to make way for negotiations, and Trump even hinted at putting off decisions on Huawei until the end of negotiations, things are still very much up in the air," it said late on Saturday.

"Agreement on 90 per cent of the issues has proved not to be enough, and with the remaining 10 per cent where their fundamental differences reside, it is not going to be easy to reach a 100 per cent consensus..."

POSITIVE SIGNAL

Mr Trump also offered an olive branch to Mr Xi on Huawei Technologies, the world's biggest telecom network equipment maker.

The Trump administration has said the Chinese company poses a national security risk given its close ties to China's government, and has lobbied US allies to keep Huawei out of next-generation 5G telecom infrastructure.

The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, in a lengthy statement about G-20 released by the Foreign Ministry following the delegation's return to Beijing, said the Xi-Trump meeting had sent a "positive signal" to the world.

Though problems between the two countries remain, China is confident as long as they both follow the consensus reached by their leaders they can resolve their problems on the basis of mutual respect, Mr Wang said in the statement on Saturday.

Mr Trump's comments on Huawei, made at a news conference in Osaka following his sit-down with Mr Xi, generated a cautious welcome from China.

Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Foreign Ministry's special envoy of G-20 affairs, said if the US does what it says on Huawei then China would welcome it.

"To put restrictions in areas that go beyond technology and economic factors will definitely lead to a lose-lose situation. So if the US side can do what it says then we will certainly welcome that," Mr Wang told reporters.

The pause in tensions is likely to be welcomed by the business community and markets.

Mr Jacob Parker, vice-president of China operations at the US-China Business Council, said returning to talks was good news for the business community and added much-needed certainty to "a slowly deteriorating relationship".

"Now comes the hard work of finding consensus on the most difficult issues, but with a commitment from the top, we're hopeful this will put the two sides on a sustained path to resolution." - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE