US, China nearing deal to remove US sales ban against ZTE

Guggenheim investment chief Nobody wins a trade war

Wheat bound for overseas pours into the holds of a ship at the Port of Portland. The U.S. ran a deficit with China in goods and services a year ago of $337 billion.

U.S. stocks climbed on Monday after the United States and China put their trade differences "on hold" to work on a wider agreement, while sentiment was also buoyed by the almost $28 billion worth of merger activity.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to raise import duties on Chinese goods worth up to $150 billion in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology in exchange for market access.

The Treasury secretary's remarks come a day after he told Fox News that the USA was "putting the trade war on hold" and that both Beijing and the US were temporarily suspending plans to implement tariffs.

The disclosure came after the conclusion of intensive trade talks in Washington between the two sides.

Not only does China need to offset the trade imbalance with the USA, but it also needs American natural gas.

In an interview on CNBC Monday morning, Mnuchin said that the most recent round of trade talks between the two nations had concluded with a "very comprehensive framework that needs to be implemented".

Trump tweeted Monday: "China has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products - would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!"

Mnuchin said the United States expects to see a big increase of between 35 percent and 40 percent in agricultural exports to China and a doubling of energy purchases over the next three to five years.

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FILE - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and a U.S. delegation arrive at a hotel in Beijing for trade talks with China, May 3, 2018.

The comment came a day after the USA and China released a joint statement in which they pledged to "substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China".

Analysts said the talks may have helped to ease tensions at least slightly between the world's two biggest economic powers. And there was no mention of ZTE in the two countries' joint statement on the trade talks, keeping the company in limbo. The two countries also agreed on "meaningful increases" of USA agriculture and energy exports and greater efforts to increase trade in manufactured goods and services. The U.S. has long accused Beijing of secretly stealing U.S. technology from American businesses.

If China were to fill every drop of uncontracted LNG with USA gas, that would amount to about $20 billion a year in purchases by 2030.

Beijing refused to knuckle under to a USA demand to slash the US trade gap by a specific amount: $200 billion, a figure seen by most economists as wildly unrealistic anyway.

"We are not out of the danger zone yet", said Nick Marro, a China analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Europe was hit by the shock tariffs in March, part of the protectionist president's threat of an "America First" trade war with Washington's closest partners, including Canada, Mexico and Japan.

President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Sunday on ABC that $200 billion is "a number that interests the president a lot". He views the massive US trade deficit with China as evidence that Beijing is engaged in abusive trading practices and has outmaneuvered previous USA administrations.

Last August, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer began investigating Beijing's strong-arm tactics to challenge U.S. technological dominance. The industrial sector advanced 1.6 per cent. Boeing, which sells about a fourth of its commercial aircraft to Chinese customers, jumped 3.3 per cent, the biggest gainer on the Dow and providing the maximum support to the blue-chip index.

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