‘Back on track’: Trump, Xi seal trade war truce

‘Back on track’: Trump, Xi seal trade war truce
US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping hold a bilateral meeting during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 29 June 2019

‘Back on track’: Trump, Xi seal trade war truce

‘Back on track’: Trump, Xi seal trade war truce
  • The cease-fire that halts damaging trade frictions came in a hotly anticipated meeting between the leaders
  • Trump hailed the meeting in the Japanese city of Osaka as “excellent”

OSAKA: US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce on Saturday, as Washington vowed to hold off on further tariffs and declared trade negotiations with China “back on track.”
The cease-fire that halts damaging trade frictions came in a hotly anticipated meeting between the leaders of the world’s top two economies on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Trump hailed the meeting in the Japanese city of Osaka as “excellent.”
“We are right back on track,” he added.
There was little in the way of concrete details on what was agreed, but Trump confirmed Washington had committed not to impose any new tariffs on Beijing’s exports and that the two sides would continue talks.
“We won’t be adding an additional tremendous amount of $350 billion dollars left which could be taxed or could be tariffed. We’re not doing that, we are going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal,” Trump said at press conference.
“We will be continuing to negotiate.”
The outcome was likely to be seen as a win, with experts cautioning ahead of the meeting that a full agreement was unlikely but a truce that avoided a new tit-for-tat round of tariffs would be positive.
“The base case scenario was met at G20 and while we are no worse for wear, let’s see what the G20 hangover brings,” said Stephen Innes, market analyst at Vanguard Markets.

Trump struck a conciliatory tone after his arrival in Japan for the summit, despite saying China’s economy was going “down the tubes” before he set out for Osaka.
He said he was ready for a “historic” deal with China as the leaders kicked off their meeting, and Xi told him that dialogue was better than confrontation.
In their final statement, the G20 leaders admitted that “most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified,” echoing hard-won language from their finance ministers at a meeting earlier this month.
There were no immediate details about the closed-door discussions but Trump said they had covered the thorny subject of Chinese telecoms firm Huawei, adding that a solution on this may have to wait until the closing stages of talks.
Washington has banned the company over security concerns and China reportedly wanted the restrictions lifted under the terms of any trade truce.
The tete-a-tete between the US and Chinese leaders — the first since the last G20 in December — cast a long shadow over this year’s gathering in Osaka.
Economists say that a lengthy trade war could be crippling for the global economy at a time when headwinds including increased geopolitical tensions and Brexit are blowing hard.
On Friday, the European Union and the South American trade bloc Mercosur sealed a blockbuster trade deal after 20 years of talks, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hailing it as a “strong message” in support of “rules-based trade.”

Trade has proved far from the only contentious issue on the summit table, with climate change another major sticking point.
A diplomatic source said it had been a “difficult” night of negotiations, with an American delegate pushing a “very tough position” and the others standing united against watering down the climate language in the final statement.
In the end, a deal of sorts was reached, with 19 members — minus the United States — agreeing Saturday to the “irreversibility” of the Paris climate deal and pledging its full implementation.
The language in the final statement mirrored that agreed during last year’s G20 but this did not satisfy French President Emmanuel Macron who urged leaders to go “much further” on climate change.
Trump has dominated the headlines from the summit, and once again caught observers by surprise by tweeting early Saturday that he was open to meeting North Korea’s Kim Jong Un while in South Korea this weekend.
“If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!,” he wrote.
He later said he would be happy to step over the border into North Korea, which would represent an extraordinary move for a US leader after decades of enmity between Washington and Pyongyang.


Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs
Updated 17 January 2021

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs

Malaysia takes legal action against EU over palm biofuel curbs
  • Palm oil constitutes 30 percent of the global oils and fats production

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is taking legal action at the global trade watchdog against the EU and member states France and Lithuania for restricting palm oil-based biofuels, the government said.

The world’s second largest palm oil producer, which has called a EU renewable-energy directive “discriminatory action,” is seeking consultations under the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry said in a statement.

Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the EU proceeded with implementing the directive without considering Malaysia’s commitment and views, even after Malaysia gave feedback and sent economic and technical missions to Europe.

The EU directive “will mean the use of palm oil as biofuel in the EU cannot be taken into account in the calculation of renewable energy targets and in turn create undue trade restrictions to the country’s palm oil industry,” he said in the statement.

The ministry filed the WTO request with cooperation from the Attorney General’s Chambers and the International Trade and Industry Ministry, taking action it had warned of in July against EU Renewable Energy Directive II.

Malaysia will act as a third party in a separate WTO case lodged by neighboring Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, as a sign of solidarity and support, the ministry statement said.

Indonesia and Malaysia, together account for 85 percent of the global output of palm oil. Palm oil constitutes 30 percent of the global oils and fats production, and plays a significant role in fulfilling the demand in the global oils and fats market.

It is the world’s most produced and traded edible oil, and its versatility can be seen through its use in a wide range of food and nonfood products, which led to the remarkable palm oil consumption growth.

The US imported approximately $410 million of crude palm oil from Malaysia in 2020, CNN reported.