Latest Sino/US Talks Fail, Trump Escalates Trade War
As the saying goes, it’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings — not so far, not even close on key major issues.
Eleven rounds of Sino/US trade talks failed to resolve core differences, further rounds coming in Beijing and Washington.
Ahead of Thursday and Friday talks between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu and Trump regime trade representative Robert Lighthizer, China’s Global Times said Beijing “won’t flinch in face of tough-talking US. (It’ll turn down (unacceptable) US demands at the final stage of negotiation.”
Vowing countermeasures in response to increased US tariffs from 10 – 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, they haven’t been announced so far.
Following failure to resolve key differences so far, Trump said he began the process of imposing tariffs on all other Chinese imports, products not subject to levies so far — worth around $300 billion.
A Friday statement by trade representative Lighthizer said the following:
“Earlier today, at the direction of the president, the United States increased the level of tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports,” adding:
“The president also ordered us to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately $300 billion.”
At midnight on Thursday, US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chineses imports were increased from 10 – 25% — excluding Chinese exports already in the pipeline, providing a window of several weeks before the hike in duties affects US consumers.
Following Friday talks, Trump tweeted the following:
“Over the course of the past two days, the United States and China have held candid and constructive conversations on the status of the trade relationship between both countries. The relationship between President Xi and myself remains a very strong one, and conversations….”
“….into the future will continue. In the meantime, the United States has imposed Tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!”
The People’s Daily, the official broadsheet of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party, struck a defiant note, saying:
“China will never yield to the United States side’s maximum pressure and will not compromise on matters of principle,” adding:
“China has made clear.” Its leadership “requires that all tariffs be eliminated to restore normal bilateral trade. The trade procurement figures should be realistic.”
“The text must be balanced and expressed in a way that is acceptable to the Chinese people and does not undermine the country’s sovereignty and dignity.”
Vice Premier Liu said “China firmly opposes the trade war, but is fully prepared for it and will deal with the matter rationally,” adding:
Beijing won’t compromise on “matters of principle.” In future talks, he and his team expect their US counterparts to respect sovereign Chinese rights, treating the nation fairly with “dignity” to reach a deal.
Both sides agreed that failure to resolve major differences won’t derail talks.
Beijing has many options besides raising duties on US imports. Around midday in Washington on Friday, US and Chinese media said talks ended, leaving key issues unresolved.
A sample of US headlines followed:
The NYT: “Trump Renews Trade War as China Talks End Without a Deal
Trump regime-initiated trade war began in January 2018, US tariffs imposed on Chinese solar panels and washing machines, followed later by US duties on Chinese steel, aluminum, and numerous other products.
Trump didn’t “renew” what’s been raging for the past 17 months. It continues without resolution.
Washington Post: “Prospects for trade deal suddenly darken as China looks for a way to save face”
The US seeks to undermine “Made in China 2025” strategy to become an economic, industrial, and technological powerhouse.
The issue has nothing to do with face-saving. Sino/US differences are over its sovereign right to develop its economy and technological strength, the US wanting its companies able to maintain a competitive advantage.
Wall Street Journal: “US-China Trade Talks Break Off With No Deal”
AP News: “Trump claims new China tariffs help, not hurt, United States” — polar opposite reality.
Reuters: “Trump says no hurry to reach deal with China as trade war escalates”
Politico: “China trade talks end with no win for Trump”
Indeed not for either side. Protracted trade war escalated with increased US duties on Chinese imports, retaliatory measures coming.
Protracted trade wars assure losers, not winners. Major Sino/US differences remain unresolved since Trump initiated trade war. They’re largely over structural issues, the US trade deficit with China a minor one by comparison.
China isn’t about to yield to unacceptable US demands, sacrificing its longterm objectives. Resolving major differences depends both on compromise and the Trump regime backing off from demands Beijing won’t accept.
So far, the hardline US stance shows no signs of bending. The Sino/US dispute could continue much longer, harming the world economy at a time the US and Europe are vulnerable to recession.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”