It does look as though a deal is in sight between the United States and China over the trade dispute that has hurt both economies. Mr Liu He, the top Chinese negotiator, said China and the US can meet each other halfway, based on equality and mutual respect, address each other’s core concerns, strive to create a good environment, and achieve common goals that both sides have. There is a more than reasonable chance that the details will be sewn up before US President Donald Trump meets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Chile. Not surprisingly, stock markets have reacted positively to the news. Perhaps the approaching festive season need not be dismal after all.

Since the middle of last year, after Mr Trump initiated action against the world’s No. 2 economy for what he said were unfair trade practices, unease over what that could signal had turned to alarm. As the bigger exporter in the bilateral trade relationship, China has suffered more. Most recent growth numbers have the Chinese economy slowing to an annual 6 per cent, the weakest pace in almost three decades. A stream of companies have exited the mainland and sought to settle in locations such as Vietnam and Thailand. The world’s No. 1 economy has suffered as well, after China retaliated with its own higher tariffs. Brazilian pork and soya manufacturers, for instance, have gained on US farmers in the vast Chinese market.

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