WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday touted “big progress” on trade following a phone call with his Chinese counterpart, after the tariff war between the world’s two biggest economies helped rattle markets.
“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China,” Trump said on Twitter.
“Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made!” Washington and Beijing imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $300 billion worth of goods in total two-way trade earlier this year, locking them in a conflict that has begun to eat into profits and contributed to stock market plunges.
The US-China trade war has been among factors pressuring US and global markets in December, alongside worries over slowing growth, a partial US government shutdown, higher US Federal Reserve interest rates and Trump’s attacks on the central bank.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Sunday aimed to allay investor anxiety by announcing that he had held a conference call with major bank CEOs, but the comments were widely criticized by market watchers for raising new doubts.
While investors remain worried, relations have thawed since Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed to a 90-day trade truce in early December while the two sides work to ease trade tensions by Mar 1.
There have been small signs of progress – and the absence of new threats from Trump.