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The cost of that G20 steak dinner for Xi Jinping

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Chinese President Xi Jinping may have eaten the most expensive steak in his life at the working dinner with United States President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires. In this much-anticipated meeting, a 90-day trade truce was declared.

According to the statement issued by the White House, China has agreed to purchase a “very substantial” amount of US goods to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance, and agricultural goods are at the top of the list. This is an obvious breakthrough in trade negotiations, offering hope that a comprehensive trade deal will be reached by the end of the 90 days.

As China runs an annual trade surplus of about US$300 billion with the US – it was US$276 billion in 2017 – a hefty bill looms for Xi. But Beijing is probably willing to pay this price to ease trade tensions and buy more time for further economic development and reforms. In fact, the fourth plenary session of the Communist Party’s Central Committee has been postponed for more than a month, due to the uncertain external environment.

The US-China trade war: from first shots to a truce

A de-escalation of the trade war gives the Chinese government a breather, so it may turn its attention to domestic issues. It is putting together a large-scale tax reduction........

© South China Morning Post