Published: Sun, April 07, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Hopes dashed for US-China breakthrough

Hopes dashed for US-China breakthrough

The merchandise-trade deficit with China hit a record US$419.2 billion in 2018. But an agreement to schedule a summit meeting suggests both sides are eager to come to a compromise that would end months of tensions between the countries and could prompt a rollback of at least some of the tariffs that the United States has imposed on Chinese goods.

Washington wants the right to keep the 10 per cent tariff it imposed a year ago on $US200 billion ($281 billion) of imports into the United States, and to increase the hit if China fails to deliver without giving Beijing the right to retaliate in turn.

"Everything is covered, there's nothing that's not covered", Trump said, referring to the scope of USA demands. A settlement of the conflict, even if it includes a signing summit and the USA policing the application of the deal, can not and will not increase US exports or reduce its global trade deficits.

He said intellectual property protection, certain tariffs and enforcement of the deal are all outstanding issues that haven't been resolved.

The sides mainly disagree on the USA stand to retain some tariffs as an enforcement tool, according to an official.

The Chinese echoed the optimism, with President Xi Jinping touting substantial progress, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

However, the two sides have closed many gaps including terms of digital trade and access for American banks and financial institutions in China's market.

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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that there were still major issues to resolve in the agreement.

"Trump is pressing China at the last stage of the talks, requiring it to offer greater concessions on market opening and strengthen the supervision over the implementation of promises", said Li Yishuang, a Shanghai-based economist at China Securities Finance Co. who specialises in worldwide trade. Referring to a trade deal, Trump said "This is the granddaddy of them all" and added "It's got a very very good chance of happening". -China trade negotiations. President Donald Trump said Thursday that the two sides were "rounding the turn" in the talks, which resumed Wednesday in Washington.

China has floated offers to make sizable purchases of United States commodities and taken steps to show it will protect foreign intellectual property. He said he would discuss tariffs with Liu in their meeting but didn't elaborate.

In the past, Beijing has held back approvals of imported GMO products amid concerns about anti-GMO sentiment in China. "My guess is that something in between will be in the compromise".

After meetings in Beijing last week, Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are holding talks in Washington with Liu and a Chinese delegation this week.

"The only way they can buy every bean is if we stop selling to everybody else and that puts us in an enormous position of vulnerability", he said. But China insists that all duties must go for a broader agreement.

The legislation would require imposition of sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organisations like those in Mexico who mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the U.S. and financial institutions that assist such entities.

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