Trade talks ‘constructive’
US needs to create more favorable conditions
The latest round of China-us trade talks ended with “candid, constructive and efficient” indepth exchanges in Shanghai and the next round will take place in the US in September. The two sides also discussed further Chinese purchases of US agriculture imports “based on its domestic demand,” and how the US should create a favorable condition for such purchases.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held the 12th round of China-us high-level economic and trade consultations in Shanghai Tuesday to Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Based on the consensus that the leaders of the two countries reached in Osaka, Japan in June, the deep exchange between the two sides this time on issues of concern to both sides in the economic and trade fields was frank, constructive and efficient, said Xinhua.
The statement from the White House also described the meetings as constructive.
Liu is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-us comprehensive economic dialogue, and Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan also attended the consultations.
The two sides also discussed the issue about China to increase US agricultural imports, “based on its domestic demand,” and how the US should create a favorable condition for such purchases.
The talks, which lasted two days, are the first round of talks the two sides have held since May and according to Xinhua, the next round will take place in September in the US.
Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s international market re
search institute, told the Global Times that the scant information revealed the talks must have been “heated” and reached a stalemate.
Bai said favorable conditions that will make more Chinese agricultural purchases happen could refer to partial concessions from the US.
“It could be on the US commitment to relax a ban on Huawei, or it could be US efforts on other fronts,” said Bai. “At any rate, China would not make an agriculture purchase if it deemed US efforts fell short of expectations.”
Observers noted that even if China decides one day to buy more US agricultural products, that would serve its real domestic demand rather than to appease US protectionism and hegemony.
The US crackdown on Chinese tech companies, among which telecom giant Huawei Technologies is a prominent target, seems to have failed to achieve the knockout effect it did with another Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp in the year of 2018.
Huawei on Tuesday reported robust first-half revenues of $58.3 billion, up 23.2 percent year-on-year, even as the US ban remains on software and key parts supplies.
US President Donald Trump agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting at the G20 Osaka summit to allow US companies to supply Huawei, but so far, little has happened on the ground.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that China has lost jobs due to “the Trump Tariffs” and “Trumps got China back on its heels.”
He also tweeted “China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 – was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now – no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through.”
Diao Daming, a US studies expert and associate professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that this shows that Trump is getting nervous as he desperately wants to earn credit from the talks with China to reinforce his reelection campaign.
Trump also cautioned China not to delay finalizing a trade deal until after the 2020 presidential election, threatening there would be a much tougher offer on the table or no deal at all if he wins.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying responded Wednesday that releasing such pressure on China at this time is useless.
“The US should show more sincerity and credibility,” Hua said.
Linking the trade talks with the presidential elections will make the US even more untrustworthy not only to China but also to other US trade partners with trade frictions, Diao noted. “The key is the US should show an attitude of honesty and credibility based on win-win cooperation and mutual respect,” he said.
“A deal can surely be reached with such an attitude, and without this attitude, any release of nervous and frustrated pressure would be useless.”
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (center), US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (right) and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pose for a photo before holding talks at the Xijiao Conference Center in Shanghai on Wednesday. Chinese and US negotiators met in Shanghai in a bid to bring an end to a yearlong trade war.