Trump's China auto tariffs claim sows confusion

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Amid a series of morning tweets that seemed to contradict his administration's claims about a supposed trade deal between the USA and China, President Donald Trump declared himself to be "Tariff Man".

After describing the agreement made between China and the U.S. during the G-20 summit in Argentina over the weekend as "an incredible deal" and "one of the largest deals ever made", Donald Trump has done an unsurprising 180 after apparently finally appearing to catch up with reality.

The president's Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, told reporters Monday that there will be "specific changes right away" to help the agricultural industry, even as the majority of the tentative agreement remains to be worked out over a 90-day-period agreed upon between the USA and China.

Officials in Beijing did not respond to requests for an explanation and neither did the Chinese embassy in Washington.

That includes more purchases of US farm products, which Trump - seemingly trying to remind Xi - has said will begin "immediately".

Following the Trump-Xi talks, which took place over dinner at the end of the G20 summit, Washington agreed to hold off on Trump's threat to slap 25 per cent tariffs on Dollars 200 billion worth of Chinese goods from January 1, leaving them at the current 10 per cent rate.

President Donald Trump's dinner with Chinese leader Xi Jinping yielded a ceasefire in the trade war between the world's two biggest economies, though the details are proving less than satisfying to those hungering for a lasting truce.

"President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will".

While Washington touted the immediate increase in Chinese purchases of United States agricultural products, Beijing's statement was much more open, with no reference to immediate or agricultural products.

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In the day after Trump announced the deal in a two-sentence Twitter post, the White House provided no additional information. "But if not remember, I am a Tariff man", he tweeted.

There was reportedly no document signed by the two sides following their meeting in Argentina. The move is a significant turnaround in relations between the USA and one of its biggest customers for farm products. Per the president's post, a delegation of United States officials will hold negotiations with the Chinese side. If talks fail, the tariff rate on $200 billion of the original $253 billion worth of goods will be hiked from 10 percent to 25 percent.

But despite the uncertainty and threats, Trump also said he was open to signing an agreement if one is reached between Chinese and USA negotiators.

In a series of tweets, Trump celebrated the opening of negotiations between China and the US.

As reported by Reuters, fresh concerns are on the rise surrounding the temporary US-China truce that was struck over the weekend.

Team Trump said China would agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of farm, energy, industrial and other products from the US. "But as he found out with Mexico, Canada and now China, trade is more than the sum of goods and services exchanged between nations".

Asked why the auto tariffs weren't mentioned in statements the US and China issued after the dinner, Kudlow inexplicably insisted that they were.

Confusion has also arisen over when the agreed 90 day period for negotiations will kick in, with some saying it begins now, others claiming it's January.

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