Latest round of US-China trade talks inconclusive

Galtero Lara
May 16, 2019

"China's government says it will take" required countermeasures" in response to President Donald Trump's most recent tariff increase on Chinese imports but gave no specifics of possible retaliation.

In a statement Friday evening, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer confirmed that Trump had "ordered us to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately $300 billion".

The US has upped duties on €180 billion worth of goods after accusing China of going back on previous agreements, created to answer American concerns on issues such as access to markets and intellectual property rights.

In a series of tweets on Friday morning, Trump warned that he would tax almost all of China's imports if the country continued to backtrack on a trade deal. "In the meantime, we will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes that they do not again try to redo deal!" said the US President.

The Global Times said the US is wrong in "believing China is unilaterally benefitting from China-US economic and trade relations".

The negotiations took a downward turn after Trump accused China of reneging on its commitments. "If they hit tech names like Apple, Americans will feel that because those companies are more visible". Trump said Sunday he might expand penalties to all Chinese goods shipped to the United States.

China wants tariffs lifted as soon as an agreement is reached, while USA officials want to keep them as leverage to ensure compliance.

Trump has raised import duties about $250 billion of goods.

The two countries are sparring over US allegations Beijing steals technology and pressures companies to hand over trade secrets in a campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries. "That doesn't sound like much, but if it happens when there's a broader slowdown, it adds to the momentum and can make matters much worse", he says.

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The renewed tensions roiled global stock markets this week and unnerved exporters, though Chinese stocks closed sharply higher on Friday.

Liu said the two days of talks in the United States were "productive". Since then, the sides have exchanged several rounds of trade duties.

The trade war has hurt the global economy in general and the two largest economies in particular.

He posited that the tariffs will bring in wealth and help farmers, adding "build your products in the United States, and there are no tariffs".

That could effectively provide a grace period for the sides to avert serious escalation.

The editorial likened the upcoming trade negotiation in the US capital to the events of "Hongmen Banquet", a famous incident from Chinese history whereby a banquet was prepared in an attempt to assassinate the guest-thus implying that the United States, as the host, had a dishonorable intent.

Its editorial said: "Because of the political system and social structure, China is in a much stronger position than other countries to weather the storm of a trade war". "It said the choice to send Vice Premier Liu He to Washington proposes" China doesn't want the discussions to break".

Also Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Trump in a phone call to press China to release two Canadians who have been held for five months. The supply chains have been disrupted leading to many business failures and a slowdown in the economy.

A Chinese central bank adviser told state-run Financial News that Trump's tariff hike and Chinese retaliation would lower economic growth by 0.3 percentage points.

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