China cuts duty on automobile imports to 15 per cent

ZTE could face a new fine of as much as $1.3 billion (roughly Rs. 8,900 crores) as well as a management shakeup and strict new rules, Trump told reporters at the White House, although no deal has been finalised. China had promised to retaliate in a move that threatened a tit-for-tat trade war.

A reduction in import duty follows a truce between President Donald Trump's administration and Chinese officials as they seek to defuse tensions and avert an all-out trade war. He said "I instructed Secretary Wilbur Ross to consider initiating a Section 232 investigation into imports of automobiles, including trucks, and automotive parts to determine their effects on America's national security".

"The market is now expecting turbulence, because on a day-to-day basis, the communication is inconsistent and contradictory", said Stefan Selig, managing partner at BridgePark Advisors and a former undersecretary for global trade at the US Commerce Department in the Obama administration.

According to the ministry, China and South Korea will complete the second phase of their free trade agreement negotiations as soon as possible to boost trade.

At a regular foreign ministry briefing in Beijing, a government spokesman said that the joint China-US statement on economic and trade consultations issued at the weekend had covered the matter.

The proposal includes the East Asian country purchasing large quantities of US farm and agricultural products. The U.S. said it would send a team to China to work out the details.

Trump tweeted that he was working with the president of China "to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast". But it may be tougher for the make a national security case with a consumer product such as cars, than it did with steel and aluminum, two materials used in military equipment.

US$50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods are ready to be enacted at Trump's command
AP US$50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods are ready to be enacted at Trump's command

Last year, the US had a record deficit with China in merchandise trade of $375 billion, the largest with any nation. But in a joint statement, the two nations provided scant details beyond vague promises such as a China pledge to buy "significantly" more United States goods.

The Federal Reserve is beginning to worry about the economic fallout from a trade war. A US delegation flew to China to extract concessions from China. Several hours later, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reaffirmed his belief that tariffs remained an important tool to "protect our technology". Thirteen, soon to be 14 companies, produced almost 12 million cars and trucks in America a year ago.

Last month, the administration proposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports to protest the forced technology transfers.

But with the metals gambit appearing to be a spectacular misfire, the Trump administration got down to more serious business of direct confrontation with China.

China responded by targeting $US50 billion in U.S. products, including soybeans, which would deal a blow to Mr Trump supporters in America's heartland.

Then came reports that the two sides are close to a deal that would throw a lifeline to ZTE, which had been on the brink of collapse after penalties from the Trump administration for allegedly breaching American sanctions by selling its wares in countries like Iran and North Korea.

The proposed legislation illustrates growing congressional opposition to Trump's reconsideration of penalties against ZTE as a favor to the country's president, Xi Jinping, after the company estimated losses of at least $3.1 billion from a United States technology ban.

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