US President Donald Trump sowed confusion on Tuesday over the trade-truce with China, as he said negotiations could extend beyond an agreed 90-day timeframe. The three-month period halted the addition of new tariffs by both countries and was aimed at resolving the ongoing trade dispute. Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping agreed to the truce on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.
Trump took to Twitter to discuss the talks, first expressing positive feelings and later leveling threats.
"President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will," Trump tweeted. "But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so," he added.
China, on the other hand, has kept quiet on the details since the meeting in Argentina, but released an optimistic statement on Wednesday.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Beijing would seek to quickly implement specific issues already agreed upon, as both sides "actively promote the work of negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and road map."
"We are confident in implementation," the Commerce ministry statement read, calling the latest bilateral talks "very successful."
Read more: China's economy not opening up despite Beijing's assurances
US officials have struggled to provide concrete details of what the two countries agreed on at the dinner between Trump and Xi. The White House has alleged that China pledged to purchase a "very substantial" amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the US, to help narrow the current trade deficit. Additionally, China was said to be beginning to buy products from US farmers "immediately."
Beijing, however, has not yet confirmed what, if any, concessions it has made to the Trump administration.
Read more: US-China trade row: Should Americans worry?
The lack of clarity surrounding the US-China trade truce and the change in Trump's tone, injecting uncertainty over whether a deal can be reached in 90 days, sent the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling 586 points in early afternoon trading, a drop of 2.3 percent. Chinese shares responded in kind, opening lower on Wednesday.
jcg/rt (AFP, Reuters)
Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.