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Reference no. 9-719-034
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Published by:
Harvard Business Publishing (2019)
24 May 2019
Revision date:
32 pages
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On December 1, 2018, US President Donald Trump and China's Leader Xi Jinping faced each other across a dinner table during a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After what Trump called an 'amazing and productive meeting', the two leaders announced a truce in the ongoing trade war between their countries, following months of accusations, tariffs, and mounting retaliation. The US agreed to postpone for 90 days an increase from 10% to 25% in tariffs applied to a large number of Chinese goods, which had been initially scheduled for January 1, 2019. In exchange, the White House announced that China would purchase a 'very substantial' amount of agricultural and other products from the United States, adding that it expected the two nations 'to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services, and agriculture'. The Chinese government simply stated that it was 'willing to expand imports according to the needs of the domestic market' and that it hoped to 'reach a concrete agreement on mutual benefit and win-win as soon as possible'. Despite Trump's assurances that China was sending 'very strong signals' after the meeting, the outcome of the negotiations was highly uncertain. Would China provide enough concessions to satisfy the demands of the US? Would the US back down? Or would the trade war escalate, causing unprecedented disruptions - and opportunities - in global trade patterns?


Balance of payments; Business & government relations; Current account imbalance; Economics; Intellectual property; Macroeconomics; NAFTA; Strategy; Trade

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