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Trump, Xi ceasefire on tariffs, trade talks back on track

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to ceasefire on further imposition of tariffs on their exports and resume trade talks between their countries.

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President Trump broke the news Saturday in Osaka, after meeting Xi, on the sidelines of G20 meeting. “We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China,” Trump said after the talks. “I would say excellent.”

“We are right back on track,” he added without confirming any details of any agreement.

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Both sides were expected to issue official formal statements later, but Chinese state media said Washington had committed not to impose any new tariffs on Beijing’s exports and that the two sides had agreed to restart trade and economic talks.

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The outcome was likely to be seen as a win, with experts cautioning ahead of the meeting that a full agreement was unlikely but a truce that avoided a new tit-for-tat round of tariffs would be positive.

Trump has struck a conciliatory tone since his arrival in Japan for the G20 summit, despite saying China’s economy was going “down the tubes” before he set out for Osaka, and appeared keen to reach an agreement.

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He said he was ready for a “historic” deal with China as the leaders kicked off their meeting and Xi told him that “dialogue” was better than confrontation.

There were no immediate details about the leaders’ discussions, including whether they raised the thorny subject of Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.

Washington has banned the company over security concerns and China reportedly wanted the restrictions lifted under the terms of any trade truce.

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The first tete-a-tete between the leaders of the world’s top two economies since the last G20 in December has cast a long shadow over this year’s gathering in Osaka, where differences over climate change have also been laid bare.

The US-China trade war has cast a shadow over the G20 leaders summit, which was originally created to craft a united global response to the Lehman Brothers crisis

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Economists say that a lengthy trade war could be crippling for the global economy at a time when headwinds including increased geopolitical tensions and Brexit are blowing hard.