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U.S. President Donald Trump wrote Monday of his "very strong and personal relationship" with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He added that a new trade deal between the two countries would help American farmers sell more of their products to China.

Trump’s comments appeared on the news and social networking service Twitter.

Stock prices in Asia, Europe and the United States rose Monday following reports about talks between Trump and Xi last weekend.

The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies met face-to-face at the G-20 (Group of 20) meetings in Argentina. Each side agreed not to increase tariffs on the other's exports for the next 90 days while they negotiate details of a trade agreement.

Trump wrote on Twitter, "Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward! Very good things will happen."

China's ministry of foreign affairs said Monday that the Chinese and U.S. presidents had agreed to work towards removing all tariffs.

Late Sunday, Trump tweeted that "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40 percent."

The United States had a $335.4 billion trade deficit with China in 2017.

The two countries agreed to negotiate an end to their trade disagreements in the next 90 days. Experts say that is not a lot of time.

China's offers to buy U.S. agricultural, energy, industrial and other products are considered helpful to the negotiations. What will be more difficult are the other issues that U.S. officials said the two sides agreed on.

Those include the promises to immediately open trade talks on issues such as non-tariff barriers, services and agriculture. U.S. officials also want to talk about Chinese laws requiring the release of technology secrets by American companies that want to do business in China. They also want negotiations on issues like intellectual property rights and protection of cyber technology.

Raymond Yeung is an economist at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. He said that an end to trade war between the two sides would not come easily.

"Markets should not be too happy too early," he said, adding that the statement released by the Trump administration demanded a lot of changes from China for the U.S. not to increase tariffs.

Liao Qun is chief economist at China Citic Bank International. He said it was clear that both governments want to talk and work out their differences, but the agreement is only a “ceasefire.”

"There's still uncertainty that the trade war could be back on in three months," he said.

Both Yeung and Liao said the major issue could be what the Chinese government wants to do with its Made in China 2025 Initiative. That is a government policy that aims to end China’s need for other countries’ technology and make the Chinese economy like that of industrial nations.

Both Yeung and Liao told VOA they do not think China will overturn the policy. But some small changes are possible, Liao said.

“Maybe China can make concessions in other areas in exchange for keeping the plan…” Liao said.

Made in China 2025 is a 10-year campaign that China launched to help improve its technology. Many other countries worry the plan will only worsen trade problems.

The Made in China 2025 plan names 10 areas in which China seeks progress. They include information technology; robotics; medicine and medical equipment; and ocean engineering equipment.

An opinion piece in the Chinese Communist Party-supported Global Times said the meeting in Argentina had given both sides a chance to take important steps.

It added that the presence of White House trade policy adviser Peter Navarro at the meeting "was not necessarily a bad thing."

Navarro is one of the Trump administration’s strongest supporters of tariffs against China. The article suggested that his presence shows the deal with China has wide support in Washington.



A new report ranks countries according to the disaster risk faced by older people. It says those in Somalia, Central African Republic and Afghanistan face the highest risk due to conflict and a lack of social services. The findings are being released prior to the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3/14-18) in Sendai, Japan.

HelpAge International has released its first Disaster Risk and Age Index, which evaluates 190 countries. It’s estimated 66 percent of those 60 years old and above live in less developed countries. HelpAge says that figure is expected to rise to nearly 80 percent by 2050. That’s over two billion people.

HelpAge CEO Toby Porter said, “There’s quite rightly enormous interest globally at the moment in disaster risk reduction. I think an understanding that the world needs to invest in helping communities prepare for disasters and be more resilient when they do happen. But something that hasn’t been so well internalized or understood is how vulnerable older people are to disasters and more vulnerable than other members of the community.”

He gave 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as an example. The storm slammed into the southern U.S. city of New Orleans.

“The population of New Orleans the day the levies broke – the breakdown was that only 16 percent of the population that day was age 60 or older. And yet the statistics we have is that 75 percent of the men and women, who lost their lives that day, were age 60 or over. I mean it’s a most extraordinary statistic.”

And 56 percent of those who died in Japan’s 2011 Tsunami were age 65 and older, even though they made up only 23 percent of the population.

“Obviously, there are certain physical infirmities that come with older age. So, for example, a decreased ability to exit fast from an area where there may be a tsunami wave coming or to flee insecurity. There may be an instance whereby communities use disaster drills with whistles or sirens. You might have an older person in the community who may be hard of hearing. You might get someone who’s housebound and not able to see the dangers coming,” he said.

Protection of older populations, Porter said, will only grow in importance.

“The population is getting older, which is a wonderful thing. The reason that populations are getting older is because we’re all living in an era where every year people can expect to live longer and healthier lives. Often people think that population aging is just a developed world phenomenon -- or concentrated in countries like the U.S. and Canada and Western Europe. But actually populations are aging around the world and the fastest growing regions are Asia and Latin America.”

He said the world must adapt its health care, economies and social welfare to an aging population.

“If you speak to an older person regardless of which country, regardless of which culture or religion or background they come from, they’ll often talk about four major concerns. What kind of health am I in? Do I feel that I have enough money? Am I safe and living free from violence, discrimination or other forms of elder abuse? And fourth and a very important one – am I listened to? Do I have a say? Is my voice heard?”

The top 10 countries where older people are most at risk are Somalia, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, South Sudan, Myanmar, the DRC, Syria and Iraq. There are 17 sub-Saharan African countries among the top 30 where older people are most at risk.

The HelpAge chief executive officer said he’s sees encouraging signs for older people as the Sustainable Development Goals take shape. The U.N. meets late this year to finalize the replacements for the Millennium Development Goals.

Joe DeCapua – Washington

Composed & Edited by Le Quoc An
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