Markets have long been hoping that the gathering in Osaka might provide an opportunity for presidents Trump and Xi to meet and work through their differences. It was only a few days ago that state officials confirmed this was happening. Trump had previously dashed any hopes of a discussion.
But while Trump and Xi are preparing to meet to smooth things over, back in Beijing the rhetoric was still accusatory. Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen stated that China wanted the US government to cease “inappropriate” actions against domestic companies.
On Friday the US Commerce Department blacklisted five Chinese companies from buying components made in the US. It already hit Huawei – the Chinese smartphone giant – which such a ban in May.
CNBC reported that Mr Wang, speaking in Mandarin, commented Monday that:
“We hope the US side, under the principles of free trade and the spirit of WTO principles, can cancel these inappropriate measures against Chinese companies, and remove them from the entity list. This has benefits for both sides.”
Markets are currently holding their breath, but today’s response from China is a good reminder that nothing has changed until the two leaders agree a deal.
We’ve been much closer to expecting a resolution before – there was even a deadline – only for things to worsen again. Trump and Xi are sure to make positive noises after their talk, and that will likely boost stocks, but behind their leaders, the governments of the US and China continue to throw punches.
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