A calm as sudden as the storm had been brutal: after being burdened reciprocally with customs duties and reproaches on Friday, China and the United States resumed Monday the path of negotiation.
"I think everything is possible (...) We have very significant negotiations, which have never been so significant," even assured US President Donald Trump from Biarritz, where he participated in the G7 summit.
For his part, China's chief negotiator, Liu He, assured that Beijing was ready to "calmly resolve the problem through consultations and cooperation."
"We are steadfastly opposed to the escalation of the" trade war "that is" good "neither for China, nor for the United States, nor for the peoples of the world," Liu said, quoted by the press financial.
In this climate of appeasement, the plummet of the yuan against the dollar, the lowest since 2008, a development favorable to Chinese exporters, has almost gone unnoticed.
The American billionaire, obsessed with reducing the gigantic trade deficit that the United States is accusing, usually never loses an opportunity to complain about the low level of the Chinese currency, whose price is tightly controlled by Beijing.
It remains to be seen what turn will take in practice the discussions, which are suffused with many questions and take place against the backdrop of an election campaign in the United States, with a Donald Trump thoroughly playing the card of economic patriotism.
Donald Trump assured that the request for dialogue had come from Beijing. "China called last night (...) She said + let's go back to the negotiating table + so we'll come back to it," he said, without specifying who "called" who.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was unaware of the conversation Trump was talking about during a press briefing.
No date has been set for this contact recovery. During their last negotiation in Shanghai in late July, the two parties had agreed to meet again in September in the United States, without further details.
- The yuan unscrews again -
The lull is as sudden as the storm had been brutal Friday, especially in the markets.
Before the weekend, China had announced an increase in its tariffs on US products representing $ 75 billion in annual imports.
It was a response to US trade sanctions already announced. From the beginning, in March 2018, of the commercial conflict between the two first economic powers of the world, they are thus shot in one stroke.
Predictably, this Chinese initiative has nonetheless triggered a strong US reaction, Washington announcing higher increases than expected its own customs surcharges on Chinese products, September 1 and December 15.
President Trump has also paralyzed the American business community by telling them to stop doing business with China, a threat he did not specify the legal basis, which was then mitigated by senior officials of his administration.
The markets, exhausted after more than a year of commercial conflict, between unexpected reconciliations and unpredictable bouts of fever, have clinked. Wall Street lost more than 2% on Friday. And the Asian places have, too, drank the cup, before the soothing declarations on both sides.
On Monday, European markets were on the contrary in small rise, taking advantage of the lull.
As a reaction to the threat of the former real estate mogul, representative of an American right that is generally hostile to any public constraint on business, Liu said Monday that China wants to "welcome investors from around the world." whole, including the United States ".
The US Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai pointed out that Uncle Sam's companies could not withdraw from the huge Chinese market, which would only penalize the US economy. "The economic cost (of the trade war) is already considerable," the Chamber said in a statement.
© 2019 AFP