Hopes rise over US-China trade resolution - but issues remain

28 February, 2019, 06:42 | Author: Sally Reid
  • US President Donald Trump delays China tariff increase on trade deal 'progress'

China and the United States are inching ever closer to reaching a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement with substantial progress achieved on specific issues in their latest round of high-level economic and trade talks ending on Sunday in Washington.

Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that the two sides are starting to sketch out an agreement on structural issues, drafting language for six memorandums of understanding on proposed Chinese reforms.

Well, at the end of this week, the US was set to raise the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

The fight threatens to disrupt global trade and weigh on economic growth that shows signs of faltering. The issues include an enforcement mechanism to ensure that China complies with any agreements.

"Yes, there are challenges -many longstanding, and many past commitments remain unfulfilled", Stratford said in the report. "Once you move from putting together outlines to filling out the details, that is where things would naturally become more challenging".

Washington is demanding Beijing change the way it does business with the United States, demanding more access for USA companies, enforcement of intellectual property protection and an end to industrial subsidies. The remarks follow several days of meetings between teams led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

For example, in the Paris climate accords, one of the reasons the USA withdrew was because it required next to nothing out of China, which emits 9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year and growing, compared with 5 billion by the U.S.

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However the USA has threatened sanctions on European companies doing business with Iran, putting the future of the deal in doubt. The post included a drawing honoring Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, as Iranians commemorate her birth Tuesday.

The two nations met for a seventh round of talks last week, the third in a month, to try to make headway.

The negotiations appear to be edging towards a comprehensive trade deal that would include six memorandums of understanding that touch upon forced technology transfers, cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture, and non-tariff barriers to trade.

Should Trump feel compelled to cut a deal, even if it means having to forgo some of the major sticking points on the list of USA priorities, that could pave the way for more oil and gas exports to China.

Trump approved tariffs on around $200 billion of Chinese imports, including $1 billion in bike products previous year, with the initial round of tariffs coming in to effect on Monday 24 September, starting at 10%.

Recent tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have cost US businesses 2.7 billion USA dollars in November 2018 alone, according to data released by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a campaign backed by the Washington-based National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association. Lastly, how is the USA going to hold China accountable?

USA and Chinese negotiators met in Washington through the weekend, working toward a deal that would end a tit-for-tat tariff battle that began in mid-2018.

In his February 5 State of the Union address, Trump said a China trade deal "must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs".

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