China’s economy czar going to Washington to sign trade deal

Above, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He during a meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington in October last year. (AP)
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Updated 09 January 2020

China’s economy czar going to Washington to sign trade deal

  • US postponed planned tariff increases following the announcement of the ‘Phase 1’ deal in October
  • Both sides have soothed financial market jitters by announcing conciliatory steps

BEIJING: China’s economy czar will visit Washington next week for the signing of an interim trade deal, the government said Thursday.
Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing’s chief envoy in talks with Washington over their tariff war, had been expected to attend the signing but the Commerce Ministry’s statement was the first official confirmation.
Washington postponed planned tariff increases following the announcement of the “Phase 1” deal in October. But earlier punitive duties imposed by both sides on billions of dollars of each other’s goods stayed in place, dampening global trade and threatening to chill economic growth.
Liu will lead a delegation to Washington from Monday through Wednesday, said ministry spokesman Gao Feng.
Under the “Phase 1” deal, Beijing agreed to buy more American farm goods and Washington’s chief negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, said it would make changes to respond to complaints about its industrial policies. Details have yet to be announced and Chinese officials have yet to confirm any regulatory changes or the size of purchases of American soybeans and other exports.
Both sides have soothed financial market jitters by announcing conciliatory steps including postponing planned tariff hikes. Beijing also has resumed purchases of soybeans, the biggest American export to China, and pork.
Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners complain Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. Washington is pressing China to roll back plans for state-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other industries that its trading partners say violate its market-opening commitments.
President Donald Trump announced last month he would sign the “Phase 1” agreement Jan. 15 and travel to Beijing after that to start the second stage of talks.
Trump hailed the interim agreement as a step toward ending the tariff war, but Beijing has been more measured in its public statements.
Economists say concluding a final settlement could take years. Potential hurdles include Chinese insistence that US tariff hikes be canceled once an agreement takes effect. The Trump administration says some must remain in place to ensure Beijing carries out any promises it makes.


Dubai rents may be bottoming out as ‘green shoots’ appear

Updated 20 January 2020

Dubai rents may be bottoming out as ‘green shoots’ appear

  • An estimated 45,000 homes were completed in Dubai in 2019 according to Chesterton estimates

LONDON: Confidence may be returning to Dubai property despite a bloated market for off-plan homes, according to a report from Chestertons, the real estate broker.

Although apartment and villa sales prices were down 2 percent and 3 percent respectively in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter, rental rates are stabilizing.

But supply issues continue to represent the biggest challenge facing the market, with 45,000 new units completed in 2019 and that expected to double this year.

“The Dubai residential market in Q4 2019 is alluding to a more positive outlook for 2020 thanks to the slowdown of sales price declines and the leveling of rental rates,” said Chris Hobden, of Chestertons MENA. “This does, however, have to be tempered by the volume of new units scheduled for delivery in 2020, which makes the short-term recovery of prices in the emirate unlikely.”

In the rental market, no movement was witnessed in the fourth quarter with the market supported by a draft law which would fix rental rates for three years upon the signing of a contract. 

“To ensure high occupancy in 2020, landlords will have to be realistic in the face of tough market conditions. The incentives previously offered to tenants, such as rent-free periods, multiple cheques and short-term leases, will continue, with an increase in tenant demand for monthly direct debit payments also likely” added Hobden.