Stalled US/China Trade Talks
by Stephen Lendman
For months, talks have been stalled, both countries failing to resolve bilateral differences, China refusing to buckle to unreasonable Trump regime demands.
Because of uncertainty caused by his trade war, China is seeking new export opportunities in Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
So far in 2018, Chinese exports to America remain strong. On October 15, the Congressional Research Service estimated the bilateral trade deficit would rise from $375 billion in 2017 to $413 billion this year.
At the same time, China’s record trade surplus increases the chance for continued trade war, perhaps escalating in the months ahead, no resolution in prospect so far.
Expecting protracted trade war, Beijing is also seeking to increase high-quality imports from nations other than America, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar and beef from the Czech Republic.
According to Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation research fellow Mei Xinyu:
“With the China-US trade war continuing to escalate, I think there is now a widespread consensus that it will last for a long time and that we have to be prepared,” adding:
New sources of various products need to be found. “China can replace US products very easily. (O)ther countries will benefit from the massive demand.”
Last week, Trump’s deputy assistant secretary on China and Mongolia Alan Turley met with Chinese officials in Beijing ahead of Xi Jinping and Trump possibly meeting on the sidelines of the November G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Representatives of US businesses were involved in the meeting, according to the US embassy in Beijing.
Since bilateral trade talks deadlocked in June over Trump’s punitive tariffs and China’s response, the US escalated tensions with Beijing over its South China Sea activities and issues relating to Taiwan.
Separately, Trump and Mike Pence falsely accused Beijing of meddling in America’s political process, no evidence cited because there is none.
A Chinese source involved with Turley’s discussions last week said “trade war has already hit confidence in both countries. We have been clear on each other’s perspectives so now it is time to push forward to work out a way out of the trade conflicts.”
The Trump regime said it’s not sending high-level officials to November’s International Import Exhibition in Shanghai. Bilateral tensions remain far from resolved.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump regime is unwilling “to resume trade negotiations with China until Beijing comes up with a concrete proposal to address Washington’s complaints about forced technology transfers and other economic issues, officials on both sides of the Pacific said,” adding:
“The impasse threatens to undermine” a chance for Xi and Trump to try diffusing trade tensions by face-to-face talks next month.
The US business community is pushing for Trump to suspend plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% on January 1, from the current 10% rate.
According to China’s envoy to America Cui Tiankai, Beijing wants discussions with Trump officials before issuing a new proposal to try ending bilateral trade differences.
China is wary of how America negotiates, agreeing to one thing, then going another way time and again, showing the US can never be trusted.
A Final Comment
On Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with Xi Jinping in Beijing, the first official visit by a Japanese PM in seven years.
This year, both leaders met several times on sidelines of international summits and forums, Abe’s Beijing visit a sign of improved bilateral ties – notably as US/China relations deteriorate.
China is second only to America as Japan’s largest trading partner, imports from both countries nearly equal last year.
Beijing is likely to replace the US as Japan’s largest partner ahead, Abe’s visit a chance for him and Xi to strengthen bilateral ties.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”