Posted by on December 1, 2018 10:35 pm
Categories: Economy

Update: Well over an hour after “the most anticipated dinner between US and Chinese presidents in years” was over, Chinese state-run TV, CGTV, finally reported that Trump and Xi had agreed to keep the US-Chinese trade war from escalating with a promise to temporarily halt the imposition of new tariff, effectively declaring a truce.

As part of the truce reached between the two leaders, no additional tariffs will be imposed after Jan. 1, CGTN reported.

The truce was expected by many and hinted at by Trump’s optimistic tone at the start of the dinner:

“My relationship is very special, the relationship that I have with President Xi,” Trump said as the two men were seated. “This is going to be a very primary reason why we are probably going to be ending up.

Yet what is odd is that so far only the Chinese side has revealed what was agreed, with the US delegation – already on its way back in AF1 – has so far failed to corroborate the Chinese report, although that is likely forthcoming.

It was also unclear if the US would increase the tariff rate on some $250BN in Chinese imports starting Jan. 1 as previously planned.

* * *

The much anticipated dinner meeting between US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and their respective entourage, has finished, lasting more than two and a half hours, and concluding on a positive note on Saturday. According to the SCMP, discussion about de-escalating tensions between the world’s two largest economies lasted half an hour longer than scheduled, which according to Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein suggests that “the conversation might’ve been constructive.”

While details of the outcome are yet to be released, both sides reportedly looked happy at the end of the gathering, with applause heard in the room as the dinner drew a close.

In fact, according to SCMP editor Chungyan Show, the dinner went “so well the two sides decide to take a “family photo” at the end – which is not something in the original plan.

As he was preparing to sit down with Trump, Xi was quoted as saying that he was “very happy” to be meeting with Trump after the conclusion of the Group of 20 summit, and that he saw the occasion as an “opportunity to exchange views”.

“Xi Jinping said at the beginning that he was very happy to meet with the president,” China’s state news agency Xinhua reported shortly after the bilateral meeting began in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Since the last meeting, there have been many new changes in the world situation. As two big countries, China and the United States have important influences and share important responsibilities in promoting world peace and prosperity,” the report quoted Xi as saying.

“Cooperation is the best choice for both sides. I would like to take advantage of the opportunity tonight to exchange views with the president on issues of common concern and plan for the next phase of Sino-US relations.”

While the contents of an agreement, if any, have yet to be leaked, what is known is what was served during the dinner between Trump and Xi: grilled sirloin steaks paired with a malbec from the Argentine winery Catena Zapata; it’s unclear if that is bullish or bearish. Also, since Trump doesn’t drink, he most likely had a diet coke.

But in what may be the biggest surprise of the night, Trump reportedly rolled away from the Park Hyatt hotel and headed to the airport and back to D.C., and there has bee no readout from the White House yet of his meeting with Chinese President Xi.

Speaking to reported on Air Force 1, which appears to have already taken off, Larry Kudlow says the working dinner with Chinese officials went “very well.”

Traders, investors, pundits and reports are all hoping that Trump will have some (encouraging) comments for them from Air Force 1, or else the most expected dinner in years between the two leaders will have been an epic dud.

And until then, we look forward to flashing red headlines of media leaks describing what was said and done, what was agreed what wasn’t…

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