Trump praises China's Xi as trade talks begin in Beijing

04 May, 2018, 13:01 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • REUTERS  Carlo Allegri  Illustration  File

The Commerce Ministry said the two sides discussed expanding US exports to China, trade in services, the protection of intellectual property rights and how to resolve the use of tariffs and non-tariff measures, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. "So I don't know when we're going to have a solution". In addition, the two sides are expected to discuss newly-announced trade tariffs. The U.S.is China's top soybean supplier and exported $12 billion of the crop to China previous year.

Despite the huge USA trade deficit, Chinese companies are struggling to overtake western industry leaders in advanced technologies for semiconductors, the silicon brains required to run smartphones, connected cars, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Trump is seeking to cut the chronic US trade deficit by $100 billion and gain concessions over policies that foreign companies say force them to share technology with Chinese partners in order to gain market access.

"Our great financial team is in China trying to negotiate a level playing field on trade!"

The trip to China by a bevy of senior USA officials - the contingent also includes National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, among others - was approved by Mr. Trump to see if Beijing is willing to make significant changes in policy. I look forward to being with President Xi in not too distant future. His myriad books, articles and videos, including "Death by China", have long warned about hostile Chinese intentions - and the great strides they have made to act on them.

For some Chinese officials, Trump's demands are also an indication of USA unease about China's rise as an economic and military power, which has grown amid Beijing's recently announced strategy to overtake western industry leaders in advanced technologies.

"The Made in China 2025 industrial policy concerns China's long-term development plan, so the overall direction won't change at all", said Yu Miaojie, professor at Peking University's National School of Development.

Communist China has been at war with the U.S.at least since two of its senior colonels published a book, "Unrestricted Warfare" in 1999. "It will not be abandoned due to external pressure". Second, the US hasn't put together its bottom-line expectations for China to head off tariffs and other restrictions threatened by the administration.

The delegation returned to their hotel late on Thursday evening without taking questions from reporters, though, when asked how the talks were going, one unidentified USA official said "Well".

China raised with a visiting US trade delegation the issue of a ban by the United States on its companies selling components and software to ZTE Corp for seven years, the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday.

Meanwhile, new data shows President Trump's "America first" economic policies are paying off, with China taking a hit in global markets.

The new team of top Chinese negotiators, few of whom come from the commerce ministry, is led by Liu He.

Another point of leverage China holds is its $1 trillion-plus portfolio of U.S. Treasury bonds.

Although it is hard to predict how the meetings will turn out, Liao Qun, chief economist at China CITIC Bank International, says it is a positive sign that both sides have a desire to sit down and negotiate.

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