SINGAPORE (Jan 14): After three days of talks in Beijing, negotiators from the US and China have concluded with “extensive, deep and meticulous” foundations to resolving the bilateral trade tensions that have dogged the global economy for much of the past year.

The discussions were part of a 90-day “truce” called at a Dec 1 meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Bueno Aires, Argentina. This means a full trade deal needs to be concluded by March 1, or the US will hike tariffs on US$200 billion ($271 million) worth of Chinese goods to 25%. A next, higher-level round of talks is expected to take place in Washington, DC later this month.

The signs of progress in breaking the trade impasse has lifted stock markets across the US and Asia. Yet, economists and other observers are still advocating bracing for impact from the broader shifts in the geopolitical landscape. “The economy, I foresee, is not going to get better,” says Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA). “It could even be worse than last year as the threat of war — both in trade and in lives — looms between the US and China, and the US and Iran. So, everyone should be keeping a close eye on the changes on the world stage.”

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