China relieved as trade tensions ease


China's interest in reducing its trade surplus with United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for US liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, said energy executives involved in developing new facilities.

The long-run picture may not be so sunny.

-China trade tensions eased and, now that the two countries have resumed talks, take a wait-and-see approach to President Donald Trump's promises for more sales to China.

A vague statement the two countries released said next to nothing about the issue at the heart of the dispute between Washington and Beijing: The hardball tactics China uses to challenge USA technological supremacy.

"I ask Senator Chuck Schumer, why didn't President Obama & the Democrats do something about Trade with China, including Theft of Intellectual Property etc.?" tweeted Mr. Trump.

Paulson encouraged Mnuchin to travel to Beijing for a first round to trade negotiations and Mnuchin in turn lobbied Trump to authorize the trip, said a person familiar with the matter.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's comments over the weekend that the two countries had put the prospect of a trade war "on hold" and agreed to hold more talks to boost U.S. exports to China boosted stocks at the opening, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average leading the charge higher. But Beijing made no specific commitment.

The celebration could prove premature. "There is still a high risk of a trade war, even if the timeline to getting there has been extended".

Shares of AK Steel (AKS) fell 5.1 percent and U.S. Steel (X) was down 3.8 percent following the weekend trade announcement.

In this regard the Global Times piece is correct, at least as far as stating that China will purchase more US goods to its own benefit.

Mnuchin said on Sunday the United States and China had agreed to drop their tariff threats, and China on Monday praised a significant dialing back of tensions.

"As this process continues, the United States may use all of its legal tools to protect our technology through tariffs, investment restrictions and export regulations", Lighthizer said. Real structural change is necessary.

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"So long as Singapore is pending, we do not believe these tariffs will be implemented", Krueger said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will be dispatched to Beijing "immediately" to work out the details of accelerated Chinese purchases, said Mnuchin, who led the US delegation in the talks with a Chinese team headed by Vice Premier Liu He.

Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who specializes in US economic competitiveness, called the framework a "small positive move".

US Steel is down 4.77% Monday after Trump touted his revised position on trade with China, announcing the US will put its tariffs on hold. Dan DiMicco, a trade adviser for Trump's campaign and transition, joined in the criticism. "Been there for 20+ years".

Leaders on both sides of the political aisle claimed Trump had backed off his tough talk on China by agreeing to the deal.

US Treasuries slipped, lifting yields on the 10-year note one basis point to 3.067 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Trade analysts and China watchers were underwhelmed.

Lighthizer last summer began investigating Beijing's tactics to challenge USA technological dominance. The Trump administration had sought to slash the deficit by $200 billion.

Some U.S. farmers scrapped plans to plant sorghum this spring, opting for corn instead, after China's probe halted U.S. sorghum imports. So some business groups were relieved by the cease-fire.

The two sides, however, gave no indication of how much progress they had made towards ending their dispute entirely.

China, in turn, threatened billions of its own tariffs on incoming US products.

Cheniere shares gained as much as 6.2 percent Monday, the biggest intraday gain in nearly two years. That project calls for China to develop world-class competitors in fields from information technology to electric cars to pharmaceuticals. But numerous dangers of a possible trade fight still linger. "If they can work out a broader deal with the Chinese, that is a good thing".