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It characterized those tariffs as a penalty for Beijing's forcing American companies to hand over technology to gain entry to China's market.

While China politics expert Yu cites domestic support for Trump's trade approach to China, Xi can likely command even stronger backing at home for a muscular approach toward what Beijing portrays as a conflict resulting from USA unilateralism and hegemony. "China imports just over 1 million cars into its 20 million-a-year-plus auto market".

Xi pushed measures in areas that have been high on the list of U.S. President Donald Trump's ire at China.

"We will take the initiative to expand imports", Xi said.

But Gao said the measures are proactive and have nothing to do with the trade frictions between China and US. "We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of global payments under the current account", Jinping said, as per a translation of the speech. Rather than waiting weeks for the USA tariffs to be implemented, Trump backed a plan by Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, to seek the enhanced tariffs.

The US administration's current confrontational strategy toward China links trade more closely with national security.

"We now have to see how Mr Trump will react, but markets will surely react positively on rising hopes that a trade war will be averted".

"If you look at President Xi's speech, it was conciliatory and that feels like a de-escalation", said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR.

"China's door of opening up will not be closed and will only open wider", said Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of Hainan. -China trade tensions flared up, which could have prompted some officials to ease their views.

Trump praised Xi's "kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers" on Tuesday.

China is re-instituting the State Intellectual Property Office this year to step up law enforcement, significantly raise the cost for offenders and fully unlock the deterrent effect of relevant laws.

"We will make great progress together", Trump added. China has responded with its own list of USA goods it could levy, including soya beans, aircraft and other major U.S. exports, many of which come from battleground states influential in upcoming midterm elections.

Only utilities and real estate, which are sensitive to interest rates, posted losses after United States producer prices rose more than expected in March, indicating that inflation is strengthening, which could push interest rates up further.

Trump, speaking at a White House meeting with legislators from top agriculture states, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, said his conversation with Xi "made a big impact". I don't blame China; I blame our representatives, frankly.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 25 cents to $65.26 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Another U.S. carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, patrolled the contested waters last month, taking part in anti-submarine drills in the South China Sea with Japanese forces and visiting Vietnam with its 5,000-strong crew, the largest such U.S. military presence there since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

Earlier, China imposed tariffs worth $3 billion on 128 USA products in retaliation for US duties on steel and aluminum. The U.S.'s bilateral trade deficit was $375 billion a year ago. The future for the S&P 500 climbed 1.1 percent to 2,647.70. "We never talked about punishment", Kudlow said.


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