US ‘will impose no new tariffs on China’

Chinese state TV says the US has agreed not to impose any additional trade tariffs after 1 January and that talks will continue.

It made the announcement after US President Donald Trump met China’s President Xi Jinping for the first time since a trade war erupted this year.

Both a Trump adviser and Chinese media said earlier that talks after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires had gone well.

At the summit earlier on Saturday, the G20 leaders agreed a joint declaration.

The document notes divisions over trade but does not criticise protectionist activity.

What was reportedly agreed?

There was no immediate US confirmation of the outcome of the talks, but Chinese state TV said: “No additional tariffs will be imposed after January 1, and negotiations between the two sides will continue.”

During the working dinner the Chinese leader said co-operation was the best choice for their nations, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Mr Trump had earlier said the pair shared a “very special” relationship. “I think that’s going to be a very primary reason we’ll probably end up getting something good for China and good for the United States.”

Both sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods. The US has hit $250bn (£196b) of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on $110bn of US products.

Ahead of the G20, Mr Trump had told US media he expected to go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods – first introduced in September – to 25% (up from 10%) starting in January 2019.

Mr Trump had also said that if talks were unsuccessful, he would carry out a threat to hit the remaining $267bn of annual Chinese exports to the US with tariffs of 10-25%.

US-China trade divisions meant an Asian economic summit earlier this month was unable to agree a formal leaders’ statement for the first time in its history.

What else happened in Buenos Aires?

French leader Emmanuel Macron told reporters that the World Trade Organization, the body that regulates trade disputes, needed to be modernised.

A senior US official told Reuters that it was the first time that the G20 had recognised that the WTO was “currently falling short of meeting its objectives” and needed reform.

On Friday Mr Trump briefly met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20, a Russian official told Reuters.

Earlier the US president said he had postponed a planned press conference “out of respect for the Bush family”, following the death of former President George HW Bush, at the age of 94.

Earlier on in the summit, emerging economies denounced protectionism.

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