Sino/US Trade Talks in Beijing

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Sino/US Trade Talks in Beijing

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Trade war between both countries has been ongoing since early 2018. Multiple rounds of talks produced no breakthroughs.

What’s key is unrelated to trade. Washington under Republicans and undemocratic Dems wants China’s aim to become an industrial, economic and technological powerhouse undermined.

It’s an irreconcilable difference between both countries – not about to be resolved by the mutually agreed on March 1 deadline or any time thereafter.

Prospects for resolving trade issues are uncertain. Key isn’t what’s agreed on. What matters is what both sides do going forward, policies they implement.

The US wants the interests of all countries subordinated to its own, part of its aim for global dominance by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives, war its favored strategy, against China or Russia would be catastrophic for both sides, assuring losers, not winners.

Lower-level US negotiators are in Beijing for trade talks with their Chinese counterparts on Monday and Tuesday – the first round of negotiations since Trump and Xi Jinping met on December 1 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires Argentina.

They agreed on a further 90-day period to try resolving major differences between both countries. Deputy US trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish heads the US team in Beijing.

His views on China are as hardline as chief Trump regime trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Peter Navarro, White House director of trade and manufacturing policy.

His delegation will meet with their Chinese vice ministerial counterparts, no breakthroughs expected. Current talks are prelude for more to come in the weeks before March 1 – in Beijing and Washington.

According to an anonymous Chinese trade policy advisor, “vice-ministerial talks won’t solve all the problems, but both sides are expected to take the chance to check their respective demands and offers and to check any chance to reach a trade deal,” adding:

“Both sides are close to finding a solution to address the trade imbalance, and China is open to moving on some of its structural problems in the economy. It will also take steps towards market-oriented competition, but the US should realize that it takes time… Otherwise it leaves no room for negotiation.”

International Relations Professor Wang Yiwei said current talks will address address issues of expanded US market access, protection of intellectual property rights, and ways to reduce the trade imbalance between both countries – issues not about to be resolved easily if at all.

Current talks can go either way, according to International Relations Professor Zha Daojiong, saying “(o)ne prospect is that this round of talks prepares the way for commitments to be firmed up later at a higher level.” 

“The other prospect is that neither side…expects much to come from such meetings. Quite possibly, it is going to be the latter case.”

Talks are only party about trade. Issues explained above override them, too irreconcilable to be resolved no matter how long negotiations continue.

China’s Global Times (GT) asked are things closer to a trade deal as talks begin in Beijing? “The longer the trade war continues, the less unrealistic expectations the outside world should hold for China,” said GT, adding:

The longer impasse continues, the more both countries lose. “(I)n a trade war, there is no winner-takes-all scenario. Washington’s losses appear slower, but what will be will be.”

“A good China-US trade agreement that can stand the test of time must be fair and realistic.  Mutual respect for one another’s interests is required…”

China favors carrots over sticks in dealings with other countries. The US approach is polar opposite.

It’s very much uncertain whether Washington and Beijing can agree on a deal benefitting both countries.

Ongoing talks for two days won’t likely change much. Further talks will show whether breakthroughs are possible. 

Key isn’t what may be agreed on. The proof of the pudding is in implementation, the way things always work.

A Final Comment

On Monday when trade talks began, the USS McCampbell Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer provocatively sailed close to Chinese waters – on the phony pretext of conducting a “freedom of navigation” operation, challenging what the US calls “excessive (Beijing) maritime claims” in the South China Sea.

China considers intrusions by US warships and aircraft near its territory hostile acts. The latest US provocation won’t make ongoing trade talks easier.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.