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China to 'immediately' implement US trade truce measures

The commerce ministry's remarks came days after US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to give negotiators 90 days to resolve their trade spat.

FILE: China's President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 9 November 2017. Picture: AFP

BEIJING – China said Thursday it would "immediately" implement measures agreed under a trade war truce with the United States - and was confident it could reach a deal within 90 days.

The commerce ministry's remarks came days after US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to give negotiators 90 days to resolve their trade spat.

Few details have been made public about what the two sides will negotiate, a lack of clarity that has unsettled stock markets.

"China will immediately implement the consensus both sides already reached on agricultural products, energy, autos and other specific items," commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular press briefing.

The two sides will also discuss intellectual property protection, technology cooperation, market access and balanced trade, and "work hard to reach a consensus", Gao said.

"Teams from both sides are in contact and cooperating well, we are fully confident that we can reach an agreement in the coming 90 days," Gao said, without providing more specific details about what actions China will take.

"The ultimate goal for the 90 days of talks is to remove all the increased tariffs," Gao said.

As part of the truce, Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise the tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% beginning 1 January, leaving them at the current 10% rate.

The White House has said China agreed to purchase a "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products to reduce the yawning trade gap. It also would begin buying products from US farmers "immediately".

The two sides will also negotiate "structural changes" to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, according to the White House.

For its part, China has said it will import more US products to reduce its trade surplus, but no dollar amount has been publicly discussed.

Trump added China would roll back tariffs of 40% on cars. It was unclear if Gao was referring to the tariffs in his remarks to reporters.

Gao's briefing came hours after the trade detente risked being rattled by the arrest in Canada of a top executive from Chinese telecom giant Huawei at the request of the United States.

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