US and China agree tentative trade truce ahead of G-20 summit: Report

US President Donald Trump at a bilateral dinner meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Group of 20 Summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec 1, 2018.
US President Donald Trump at a bilateral dinner meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Group of 20 Summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec 1, 2018.PHOTO: NYTIMES

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (REUTERS) – The United States and China have agreed to a tentative truce in their trade dispute ahead of a meeting between leaders of the two nations at the Group of 20 summit hosted by Japan this weekend, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday (June 27), citing sources.

Details of the agreement, which would halt the next round of US tariffs on an additional US$300 billion (S$406.4 billion) of Chinese goods, are being laid out in press releases and will be out as coordinated press releases and not a joint statement, the newspaper said. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with US President Donald Trump is conditional upon Washington agreeing to such a tentative agreement, SCMP reported, citing one source with knowledge of the plans.

Trump is set to hold much-anticipated trade talks with Xi in Osaka at 11.30am (10.30am Singapore) on Saturday, a White House spokesman told reporters on Wednesday.

The bilateral meeting, aimed at heading off a ratcheting up of US tariffs on imports of consumer and other goods from China, is likely to be the most closely watched event at the G-20 summit.

Trump said on Wednesday a trade deal with Xi was possible this weekend but he is prepared to impose US tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports if the two countries continue to disagree.

China and the United States have already imposed tariffs of up to 25 per cent on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a trade war that has lasted nearly a year.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have spiralled downward since talks collapsed in May, when the United States accused China of reneging on pledges to reform its economy. 

Trump - known for preferring one-on-one dealmaking over multilateral discussions - is set to hold a total of nine bilateral meetings during his time in Japan, including one with Russian President Vladimir Putin at 2pm on Friday (1pm Singapore), White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters travelling with Trump.

The meetings are set to begin on Thursday when Trump lands and has dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Gidley said.

On Friday, Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and then Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before meeting Modi separately.

Trump also added a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday to his schedule.

Here are the scheduled times for Trump’s talks. 

THURSDAY

- Dinner meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

FRIDAY

- 8.30am (7.30am Singapore) Meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

-9.15 am (8.15am Singapore) Trilateral meeting with Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

 
 
 

- 9.35am (8.35am Singapore) Meeting with Modi

- 10.15am (9.15am Singapore) Meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

- 2pm (1pm Singapore) Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

- 3.30pm (2.30pm Singapore) Meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

SATURDAY

- 8.15am (7.15am Singapore) Meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

- 11.30am (10.30am Singapore) Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping

- 1.05 pm (12.05pm Singapore) Meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan