U.S., China Trade Meeting Ends With Sharp Response to Trump

Ng Han Guan/Pool via REUTERS

Talks between U.S. and Chinese trade officials seeking ways to end a year long trade war lasted barely half a day before ending on Wednesday with a terse response from China’s Foreign Ministry to U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning not to stall.

As U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin landed in Shanghai on Tuesday, Trump accused Beijing on Twitter of stalling, and warned of a worse outcome for China if it continued to do so.

This week’s meetings, the first in-person trade talks since a G20 truce last month, amounted to a working dinner on Tuesday at Shanghai’s historic riverfront Fairmont Peace Hotel and a half-day of negotiations on Wednesday. Neither team made immediate public comments.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who leads the Chinese delegation, waved off Lighthizer, Mnuchin and other U.S. officials as their motorcade pulled away from Shanghai’s Xijiao State Guest Hotel following a group photo session that concluded around 1:45 p.m. [0545 GMT], about 30 minutes before it was originally scheduled to begin.

A U.S. government official told Reuters that the U.S. officials were headed to the airport.

The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has disrupted global supply chains and shaken financial markets as each side has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods.

An official Chinese government survey released on Wednesday showed China’s factory activity shrank for the third month in a row in July, underlining the growing strains the row has placed on the No. 2 economy.

The Shanghai talks were expected to center on “goodwill” gestures, such as Chinese commitments to purchase U.S. agricultural commodities and steps by the United States to ease some sanctions on Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters earlier.

Those issues are somewhat removed from the more core U.S. complaints in the trade dispute, including Chinese state subsidies, forced technology transfers and intellectual property violations.

‘NO DEAL IS FINE’

As talks were just beginning on Tuesday, Trump said on Twitter that China appeared to be backing off on a pledge to buy U.S. farm goods, and he warned that if China stalled negotiations in the hope that he wouldn’t win re-election in the November 2020 U.S. presidential contest, the outcome will be worse for China.

“The problem with them waiting … is that if & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now … or no deal at all,” Trump said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, responding to a question about those tweets, said she was not aware of the latest developments during talks, but that it was clear it was the United States who continued to “flip flop”.

“I believe it doesn’t make any sense for the U.S. to exercise its campaign of maximum pressure at this time. It’s pointless to tell others to take medication when you’re the one who is sick,” Hua told a news briefing.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in June at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, to restart trade talks that stalled in May, after Washington accused Beijing of reneging on major portions of a draft agreement — a collapse in the talks that prompted a steep U.S. tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

The U.S. Commerce Department put Huawei on a national security blacklist in May, effectively banning U.S. firms from selling to Huawei, a move that enraged Chinese officials.

Trump said after the Osaka meeting that he would not impose new tariffs on a final $300 billion of Chinese imports and would ease some U.S. restrictions on Huawei if China agreed to make purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

But so far, U.S. semiconductor and software makers are still mostly in the dark about the administration’s plans.

In Sao Paulo on Tuesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said decisions on license applications by U.S. firms to resume some sales to Huawei could come as early as next week.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s state-run Global Times tabloid, wrote on Twitter that the negotiators had “efficient and constructive” exchanges.

“The two sides discussed increasing purchase of U.S. farm products and the U.S. side agreed to create favorable conditions for it. They will hold future talks,” Hu said, without elaborating.

Earlier, the Global Times said if Washington still holds the illusion that Beijing will somehow cave in and compromise on issues concerning sovereignty, “then no deal is fine”.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, David Stanway, Yilei Sun, Engen Tham, and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai, and Huizhong Wu in Beijing; Writing by Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

What do you think?

18 pledges
Upvote Downvote

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Friend
Member

We are now the strongest and hottest economy in the world. Our factories are churning out more “Made In The USA” products. With more jobs and higher income, we all can afford and will benefit, from buying our own products. China has 1.4 billion mouths to feed. They couldn’t afford a pro-long economic slow down, no matter how tough they talk. America is China’s single biggest exporting customer and we are the biggest consumer nation on earth. If we slap the remaining $300 billion tariff on them, their economy will collapse. No other economy can pickup the slack. Not the… Read more »

Jill
Member

Too many countries have taken advantage of our generous nature for far too long. Some people may not like the way Trump does business, but they will prosper from Trump’s efforts to demand respect for services we have provided. Trump is using tough love methods basically. Everyone wins from that, but change is hard. China is like a spoiled child that is made to do chores for the first time. They grouse about the chores but gain dignity by doing them.

Tom Bodine
Member

The Chi-coms are so used to the US folding that they aren’t quite sure on how to handle it.

Gerald D Cline Jr.
Member

The Chinese are stalling until after the 2020 election in the hope that a globalist president takes over that lets them go back to their aggressive cheating of the past. When Trump wins they are going to have to deal in good faith.

Joseph Morgan Sr
Guest
Joseph Morgan Sr

STAND FIRM, WE DO NOT NEED TO “BOW” DOWN TO KISS ANY COUNTRIES ASS.

Sherri
Member

I hope Trump doesn’t back down. Our country was sold down the road over 3 decades ago because global elites decided China would be the next country to lead the world. Where does that take people? Just look at China and see how people have no freedom, rights, everything is censored. We become property of the state, not the other way around. The elites have been working for decades and decades to own us all. They do it by money manipulation, divisive race baiting, wars, promising “free” everything (as if we won’t be paying with all we are), keeping up… Read more »

Elmer Yee
Guest
Elmer Yee

Don’t trust them. I am an American of Chinese descent and give them the finger and tariffs.

Friend
Member

Kick their butts, they have been robbing and stealing from us for far too long, time to play tough and go for the pin….even if it’s painful. Play the long game……

Loading…

0

Comments

0 comments

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of the first night of the second 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Sanders and Warren Defend Progressive Policies Against Attacks in U.S. Democratic Debate

Trump Administration Opens Door to Importing Medicine From Canada