Markets dive after ‘Tariff Man’ threat by Donald Trump

DEVELOPING: US-China trade uncertainty fuels market plunge

Stocks plunge amid confusion over U.S.-China trade truce

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said on Fox News that China would face "tariffs without reciprocal tariffs attacking us" if Beijing doesn't meet certain commitments made at last week's Group of 20 summit.

Over the weekend, a temporary truce was agreed between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 meeting in Argentina.

But concerns linger over discrepancies in information coming from either side.

"China will begin implementing specific issues that have reached consensus immediately, the sooner the better", a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce told reporters in a statement that was later published on its website.

The US and China paused a trade war after several months, agreeing to halt new tariffs for 90 days.

While Asian and European equities dropped Wednesday in the wake of the biggest slide in stocks on Wall Street since the mid-October downdraft, U.S. futures advanced after the statement from China echoed Trump's optimism over bilateral trade talks.

As I noted yesterday, the agreement between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping seemed to be little more than a series of vague goals with no concrete timeline or definitive way to measure progress.

"If it is, we will get it done", Mr Trump said in a Twitter post.

According to the White House, China has agreed to buy a "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the U.S. to reduce a yawning trade gap, as well as to negotiate over Washington's assertions that Beijing steals American technology.

However, there are some discrepancies in what the U.S. is saying and what was in the brief statement from Chinese officials.

For its part, Beijing "issued an upbeat but vague promise Wednesday to carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington but gave no details", The New York Times pointed out, adding that China has yet to confirm Trump's notion that Beijing would cut auto tariffs and buy more United States farm products.

Mr. Trump said this week that China agreed in talks to eliminate auto tariffs of 40 percent, which would be a boon to foreign automakers.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that a reduction in Chinese tariffs on US cars and agricultural and energy commodities would be a "litmus test" for whether U.S.

"Reaching an agreement within three months is a spur to not only China, but also the U.S. If the two sides fail to reach a deal, all the White House promises will be invalid", it said.

The problem is that Trump's victory is a tactical one and China is not going to make substantial concessions, the researchers told the media outlet.

Officials from the USA and a number of other major economies have often criticized China for its slow approach to negotiations and not following through on commitments.

While he said he would "happily sign" a fair deal that addresses United States concerns, he warned: "remember, I am a Tariff Man".

"Common to all these adjustments in the year ahead is a general tactical approach that until such time as China is able to finally bed down the fundamentals of its trade, investment, and economic relationship with the United States, it is wise for China to reduce tensions between Beijing and other countries and regions of the world", Rudd said.

Trump and Xi said they would hold off on imposing additional tariffs for 90 days starting on December 1 while they sought to resolve their trade disputes that have seen the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods disrupted by tariffs. China's crude oil imports from the USA had ground to a halt. The European Union warned that it would retaliate with tariffs on US products. The slew of Trump tweets prompted markets to fall as investors lost faith in a detente between the two nations. China now has until April to make a deal or suffer the higher tariff.

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