Saturday, December 14, 2019
 
Columnist
Martin Hennecke

No deadline for trade deal, says Trump
 
04/12/2019
 
US President Donald Trump said yesterday that efforts to resolve a trade dispute could wait until after next November's US election. "I have no deadline," Trump said in London. "In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal." US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cited a further 15 percent US tariff on about US$156 billion (HK$1,221.27 billion) worth of Chinese imports set to take effect December 15 as a 'natural deadline', and said time was running out for China to avoid it. "If nothing happens between now and then, the president has made quite clear he'll put the tariffs in," Ross told Fox Business Network. Trump said on Monday that US legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong did not make trade negotiations with China easier, but added he believes Beijing still wants a deal with the United States. Chinese state media said the government would soon publish a list of 'unreliable entities' that could lead to sanctions against US companies, signaling trade talks between the two nations are increasingly under threat from disputes over human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The US government on Monday said it may slap punitive duties of up to 100 percent on US$2.4 billion in imports from France of Champagne, handbags, cheese and other products, after concluding that France's new digital services tax would harm US tech companies. Meanwhile, Trump's surprise decision to slap metals tariffs on Brazil is a blow to president Jair Bolsonaro's aim to forge closer ties with Washington and could push Latin America's biggest economy closer to Trump's top trade foe - China. In other news, the volume of global trade of goods and services should grow at its slowest pace in a decade, rising only 1.5 percent in 2019, according to Euler Hermes' latest Global Trade Report. Exporters are expected to see US$420 billion in losses this year due to the currency effects, while China, Germany, and Hong Kong are the main victims of the trade recession, where the losses of these three places are expected to be US$67 billion, US$62 billion and US$50 billion respectively. Ludovic Subran, group chief Economist at Allianz and Euler Hermes, said the situation has stopped deteriorating, but remains negative.

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