Malaysia hopeful of US-China trade deal amid heating tensions

Malaysia is hoping for a positive outcome on the United States and China’s year-long trade rift, saying further spat would negatively affect global economies especially the emerging markets.

In a statement on Monday, Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali underscored that the continued trade war between the world’s two largest economies is detrimental to the interests of all nations.

“Rather than taking a unilateral position on this, we look forward to a positive and constructive outcome when the world’s two largest economies return to the negotiating table in early October,” he said.

He also said that Malaysia will continue to improve its relationship between the United States and China as well as with its fellow members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

At the start of the month, US and China have slapped tariffs on each other’s goods anew, disrupting industries ranging from agriculture to the automotive sector to even consumer products to steel.

The US imposed a 15-percent tariff on $112 billion Chinese products while China retaliated with a 25-percent duty on American cars and 5 percent to up to 10 percent on $75 billion of other goods.

Meanwhile, US said that it would resume with levying duties on Chinese imports by October 1, 2019—by another 25 percent to up to 30 percent—in time for a new round of trade talks.

Another 15 percent worth of tariffs on some $160 billion Chinese imports is also being mulled on December 15, originally delayed to reduce the impact of Chinese shoppers. China will retaliate with its second batch of tariffs on $75 billion of American goods.

So far, imports of American goods have declined by 22 percent as of August to $10.3 billion as compared with the year earlier. Meanwhile, exports to the United States fell by 16 percent to $44.4 billion.

Uncertainties between the two countries’ relationships are hitting both the advanced and emerging economies.

US-Chinese negotiations broke down in May over how to enforce any agreement, with China saying that Trump’s punitive tariffs must be lifted once an agreement takes effect. US said that some must stay to ensure China carries out any promises it makes.

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump accused China of purposely delaying a trade deal with the United States to prepare for a new candidate to win the White House next year.

Trump said he  was eyeing to reduce the massive and unsustainable trade deficit with China and to stop bullying American companies and theft of US intellectual properties.