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Trump's $250 billion China 'miracle' adds gloss to off-kilter trade

Reuters  |  BEIJING/SHANGHAI 

By Matthew Miller and Adam Jourdan

BEIJING/(Reuters) - President Donald can return to the United States claiming to have snagged over $250 billion in from his maiden trip to Whether those live up to the lofty price tag is another question altogether.

Watched by and China's President Xi Jinping at a signing ceremony in Beijing, U.S. planemaker Boeing Co, General Electric Co and chip giant Qualcomm Inc sealed lucrative multi-billion dollar

"This is truly a miracle," China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at a briefing in

The quarter of a trillion dollar haul underscores how is keen to be seen to address a trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy that he has long railed against and called "shockingly high" on Thursday.

has ratcheted up his criticism of China's massive trade surplus with the United States - $34.6 billion in September - calling it "embarrassing" and "horrible" last week.

But many long-standing concerns that U.S. businesses have in remain, including unfettered access to the market, cybersecurity and the growing presence of China's ruling Communist Party inside foreign firms.

"This (deal) shows that we have a strong, vibrant bilateral economic relationship, and yet we still need to focus on levelling the playing field, because U.S. companies continue to be disadvantaged doing business in China," William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told

U.S. tech companies like Facebook Inc and Google are mostly blocked in Automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors must operate through joint ventures, while Hollywood movies face a strict quota system.

PUMP IT UP

As is often the case during state visits, many of the were packaged as "non-binding" agreements, gave scant details or rolled over existing tie-ups, helping pump up the headline figure.

Qualcomm signed non-binding worth $12 billion with Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo, three Chinese handset makers the firm said it had "longstanding relationships" with. Qualcomm already earns more than half of its revenues in

Boeing signed $37 billion in commercial deals, although initial details were scarce.

"Interesting to see how many of those are past agreements/purchase orders repackaged. is a master of selling the same agreement 10 times," former Mexican ambassador to Jorge Guajardo posted on Twitter.

did, however, press Xi hard on improving the trade balance between the two countries on Thursday.

"The United States has to change its policies because they have gotten so far behind on trade with and frankly with many other countries," he told reporters, adding previous U.S. administrations had allowed it to get "out of kilter".

"We have to fix this," he said.

Asked whether the big package of would go some way towards helping fix American trade concerns in China, executives were cautiously optimistic.

"Generally, the sense was that this is all a good thing, and that's great," said Gentry Sayad, a Shanghai-based lawyer who took part in the delegation in "Now let's see what really happens."

(Reporting Matt Miller in BEIJING, Adam Jourdan and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 09 2017. 11:43 IST
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