US President Donald Trump said trade negotiations with China were “back on track” after “excellent” talks Saturday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in which Washington agreed to hold off on new tariffs.
The crunch talks on the damaging trade war between the world’s top two economies came on the sidelines of a meeting of the G20 in Japan’s Osaka, with all eyes on whether the pair would agree a truce.
“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.
Both sides were expected to issue official formal statements later, but Trump confirmed that Washington had committed not to impose any new tariffs on Beijing’s exports and that the two sides will continue talks.
“At least for the time being,” Washington will not impose new tariffs or remove existing ones, Trump said at a press conference. “We will be continuing to negotiate.”
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.
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.
In their final statement, the G20 leaders admitted that “most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified,” echoing hard-won language from their finance ministers at a meeting earlier this month.
– Climate fight –
There were no immediate details about the China-US 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.
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.
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.
On Friday, the European Union and the South American trade bloc Mercosur sealed a blockbuster trade deal after 20 years of talks, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hailing it as a “strong message” in support of “rules-based trade.”
Trade has proved far from the only contentious issue on the table, with climate change becoming another major sticking point.
A diplomatic source said it had been a “difficult” night, with an American negotiator pushing a “very tough position” and a group including France standing united against watering down the climate language in the final statement.
In the end, a deal of sorts was reached, with 19 members, minus the United States, agreeing Saturday to the “irreversibility” of the Paris climate deal and pledging its full implementation.
The language in the final statement after the summit in Japan’s Osaka mirrors that agreed during last year’s G20, but was the subject of lengthy negotiations after objections from the United States.
– Trump-Kim meet? –
Trump has dominated the headlines from the summit, and once again caught observers by surprise by tweeting early Saturday that he was open to meeting North Korea’s Kim Jong Un while in South Korea this weekend.
“If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!,” he wrote.
Several experts, however, said the focus on Trump and the talks with China struck at the heart of the G20 format, created to craft a united global response to the Lehman Brothers crisis.
“With much of the fate of the global economy and the likely direction of markets hanging on the outcome of this pivotal Trump-Xi meeting, we think things will get worse before they get better,” said ING Economics.
And the focus on bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit once again sparked doubts about the future of the gathering, experts said.
“The G20 was created as a forum for cooperation and the question may well be ‘have we reached the point where it can no longer serve that purpose’,” Thomas Bernes from the Centre for International Governance Innovation told AFP.
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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.