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US, China in trade tariffs truce after tense G20 summit

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BUENOS AIRES: The United States and China on Saturday announced a ceasefire in their tariffs war, hours after US President Donald Trump upended another international forum by snubbing G20 action on trade disputes and climate change.

Over a dinner of steaks and Argentine wine in Buenos Aires, Trump and President Xi Jinping brokered a truce to ensure that — for now — there will be no further escalation to their tit-for-tat imposition of tariffs on goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Trump withdrew his threat to raise the US tariffs even more on January 1, in return for a promise from China to buy more US goods and enter into a 90-day period of talks to resolve their differences.

Those include market access for US companies and protecting their intellectual property from theft by Chinese rivals.

Absent agreement in that time, tariffs now set at 10 percent will be raised to 25 percent, according to a White House statement.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China,” Trump said in the statement, released as he flew home from a stormy trip spent accosting his fellow leaders at the world s pre-eminent economic forum.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Buenos Aires: “It is conducive not only to the development of the two countries and the well-being of the Chinese and American people, but also to stable growth of the world economy.”

The Sino-US trade war sparked warnings at the G20 of the cost to the global economy if it continued unabated. Not long before the Trump-Xi dinner, the annual summit concluded in the Argentine capital with a watered-down statement.

The G20 communique was finally adopted after all-night haggling by negotiators ensured that the summit in crisis-hit Argentina at least finished with a joint platform, unlike recent G7 and Asia-Pacific summits where Trump s objections caused unprecedented breakdowns.

Apart from the United States, all other G20 members agreed to implement the “irreversible” Paris Agreement on climate change, ahead of a UN summit on the planetary threat starting next week in Poland, it said.

But it said the “United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” mirroring the divergence seen last year when Trump shocked the global community by bucking the consensus at his first G20.

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