The Financial Times reports that, "...Mr Trump casts the trade war with China as about bringing jobs home and cutting the trade deficit. But it is the technology rivalry that could prove hardest to settle as he tries to craft a truce with Mr Xi before March 2, the deadline they set during December's G20 meeting in Argentina. "Technology competition is at the centre of the trade war and I expect it will continue regardless of whether there is a deal," says Ely Ratner, a former Obama administration official and executive vice-president at the Center for a New American Security in Washington. "China will likely address some US concerns but it's extremely unlikely to cede to the Trump administration . . . on state-led support for its technology sector, so it will continue to be a source of friction," he adds. The US has accused China of employing unfair practices — including industrial subsidies, the theft of intellectual property and the forced transfer of technology to the Chinese in exchange for access to its market — in order to achieve its goal of developing a higher value, innovative economy by 2025. Concerns in Washington, however, extend beyond commercial matters. There are growing US fears that Chinese entities could also use their advances in technology to gather intelligence, exploit gaps in the US defence supply chain and hack critical infrastructure.
The Financial Times reports that equities rose in Asia-Pacific trading on Monday morning as optimism over progress in the US-China trade dispute appeared to buoy markets ahead of Beijing's release of fourth-quarter growth data. The Topix in Tokyo was up 0.9 per cent in early trading with all market segments in positive territory, led by energy and resources stocks. In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 per cent with the key financials and mining segments up only 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively. Hong Kong looked set for a solid start with Hang Seng futures up 1 per cent ahead of the open. The moves came after the fourth-straight weekly gain for global stocks and with the mood brightened late last week from media reports saying that the US was considering scaling back tariffs on Chinese imports and that Beijing would ramp up purchases of American goods. The FTSE All World equity index rose 1.1 per cent on Friday, bringing its gains to nearly 6 per cent so far in 2019. Attention this morning will once again turn to China, which will report its fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth figure. There is concern among investors that a slowdown in Chinese growth will drag on the world economy and weigh on equities.