China's President Xi Jinping is seen on a big screen in the media centre as he speaks at the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 5, 2018. - President Xi Jinping vowed on November 5 to open access to China's economy, while delivering a veiled rebuke to the Trump administration, as he kicked off an import fair amid growing foreign accusations that his government was backtracking on reform pledges. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)
Agence France-Presse

China has announced it will “immediately” implement measures agreed under a trade war truce with the United States.

The commerce ministry’s remarks on Thursday came days after US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Argentina, 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 “fair trade”, and “work hard to reach a consensus”, Gao said.

But the spokesman did not provide more specific details about what actions China will take.

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 percent 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.

This year, the Trump administration instigated a trade war on Beijing, imposing tariffs on a total of $250bn of Chinese imports. For its part, China has slapped tariffs on $110bn of US imports.

Last month, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which advises many of the world’s richest economies, warned that the global economy had passed its peak and faced a slowdown driven partly by trade disputes.

The threat of further escalation in the US-China trade war has loomed large over financial markets and the global economy for much of 2018.

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