China Wants to Negotiate Trade With 'Weak' Democrat

Daniel Fowler
May 8, 2019

China has confirmed that its top trade negotiator will travel to the United States to conduct a new round of trade talks later this week, even after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened higher tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods after he complained the process is taking too long.

Trump tweeted his plan to no longer have the US lose "600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade" with China on Monday.

Global equities tumbled toward five-week lows as the escalating trade fight fed worries about the world economy and investors sought the safety of bonds and the Japanese yen, which hit a six-week high against the USA dollar.

President Trump said Chinese officials are slow-walking talks over a trade deal because they'd rather negotiate with presidential candidate Joe Biden or one of the "very weak Democrats" but he won't let that happen.

"The fact that China [is sending] a delegation to the US shows it is still willing to solve the dispute by negotiations regardless of what the US is saying", Lu Xiang, an expert on China-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said. And I think they're taking the president and his advisers at their word, that tariffs would go up on Friday.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer echoed Trump's negative sentiment telling reporters Monday evening that tariffs will be levied against China on Friday if a deal is not reached beforehand. The State Council and Commerce Ministry didn't respond to requests for comment on the tariff plans.

That hike triggered a brief slowdown in the Chinese economy, prompting fears of a global economic downturn, but the renewed talks between the world's two largest economies has steadied markets in recent months. He also threatened further tariffs on nearly all other untaxed Chinese goods. "We felt we were on track to get somewhere".

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The US accuses China of resorting to predatory tactics in a drive to give Chinese companies an edge in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and electric vehicles. "But for now ... come Friday there will be tariffs in place", Lighthizer said.

In particular, observers were paying close attention to whether Beijing would scrap Liu's visit to the U.S.

China has placed tariffs on more than 800 USA products, "including soybeans, pork, dairy products, fruits and nuts, seafood, and processed products", according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

"They were trying to go back on language that had been previously negotiated, very clear language, that had the potential of changing the deal dramatically", said Mnuchin.

When asked about the possibility of retaliatory tariffs from Beijing, Mnuchin said, "The President is prepared to do what he needs to do and that's why we're moving forward on this basis".

Xie ultimately believed that the Chinese regime would not meet the USA demands, because "the Party would never allow itself to lose its grasp over the economy, even if the outcome [of a trade dispute with the United States] would damage the now fragile economy".

This isn't the first time an apparent agreement faltered.

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