Asia markets rise after United States and China agree to trade truce

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The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and President Xi Jinping of China, have just concluded what both have said was a "highly successful meeting" between themselves and their most senior representatives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The war isn't over, but it'll cool as 2018 comes to an end. "China is unlikely to compromise on this issue", the professor noted. Both parties agreed to complete negotiations within 90 days.

If the two sides can not reach agreement over these matters within the next 90 days, the U.S. will raise tariffs.

Trump agreed to hold off on his threat to slap 25 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion (S$274 billion) worth of Chinese goods from January 1, leaving them at the current 10 per cent rate.

Many US automakers build their cars in China for the local market, but for some the tariff hikes have hit sales, including electric car-maker Tesla and US-made models from BMW and Ford.

European Union leaders urged G20 participants to address concerns about journalist safety and the Saudi-backed war in Yemen.

They also agreed to maintain close exchanges in various forms to jointly chart the course for the development of China-U.S. relations, and pledged to hold further exchanges of visits at an appropriate time. Trump and his officials signaled that they would not back down unless China fundamentally changed its attitude. China responded by adding its own import taxes to an equal amount of USA goods. Troubles will deepen in China if the trade tensions continue next year, according to experts.

At the dinner, he agreed to designate fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid that contributes to America's national crisis, as a controlled substance.

Opioid abuse has been classified as a public health epidemic, taking the lives of more Americans past year than automobile accidents.

But, as with so many things, China's follow-up will be what matters to ensure that what is meant to be a confidence-building measure endures.

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Putin said it was "a pity" that he had not been able to have a proper meeting with Trump at the G20.

The U.S. firm, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has said it will cut prices to make its cars "more affordable" and absorb more of the hit from the tariffs.

President Trump called Saturday night's two-and-a-half dinner meeting - an hour longer than scheduled - "amazing and productive".

"Cooperation is the best option for the two countries" in promoting world peace and prosperity, Xi reportedly told the USA president at a working dinner, according to Xinhua.

FILE - Plastic bags of fentanyl are displayed at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Nov. 29, 2017. This would suggest the failure of more hawkish advisors, such as Stephen Miller and Peter Navarro, to convince the president to keep Chinese students out of the U.S.

This is all to say that while investors might breathe easy in the coming days, it's best not to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Growing concerns that the trade war will increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the USA economy are a key reason why US stock prices have been sinking this fall.

The details remain to be ironed out.

The dinner between Trump and Xi lasted almost two-and-a-half hours - an hour longer than expected, according to the South China Morning Post. It is republished here with kind permission.

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