WASHINGTON — President Trump cast his Saturday meeting with President Xi Jinping of China as a huge win for the United States, insisting that American farmers and automakers would reap immediate benefits from a trade truce that has yet to produce any concrete commitments and created more questions than answers about what China is truly prepared to offer.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi agreed during the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires to pause the trade war between the world’s two largest economies for 90 days and work to resolve several areas of tension, including the trade gap between what America imports from China and what China buys from the United States. But nothing beyond their official statements exists and deep divisions remain, particularly related to China’s industrial policies and its treatment of American companies.
That did not stop Mr. Trump from declaring victory for farmers, automakers and other key political constituencies in the wake of the meeting — statements that helped send volatile financial markets higher on Monday.
Despite talk of a grand bargain, the meeting’s outcome has been clouded by conflicting signals from the White House over how long the truce will last, what commitments China actually made and the president’s tweets touting wins that others in his administration said did not technically exist.
“Farmers will be a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China,” Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post on Monday. “They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately. We make the finest and cleanest product in the World, and that is what China wants.”
In a separate tweet late Sunday night, Mr. Trump said that China had agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the United States. The current tariff rate is 40 percent, which China reached in response to Mr. Trump’s tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods, and it was not clear to what level it would fall.
Larry Kudlow, who heads the White House National Economic Council, told reporters in a briefing that he was uncertain what Mr. Trump meant.
“We don’t have a specific agreement on that,” he said, adding that the administration expects that eventually all the tariffs will go to zero.
Mr. Kudlow also kicked the trade can down the road even further, saying the truce would begin on Jan. 1, giving the two sides until April 1 — rather than the March 1 date initially mentioned — to strike a deal. And in a move that could signal a tough negotiation ahead, Mr. Kudlow said that Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, would be formally taking over as the lead negotiator to hammer out a deal.