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Trade Talks With China Proceeding Uninterrupted: White House

If both sides fail to reach a resolution to the trade war, U.S. duty rates on $200 billion in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25 percent from their current 10 percent

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He attends the EU-China High-level Economic Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, June 25, 2018. He is to meet his U.S. counterparts in Washington next week. VOA

The White House on Tuesday said high-level trade talks with Beijing were proceeding uninterrupted, quickly rebutting media reports that progress toward resolving their trade war had faltered.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is to meet his U.S. counterparts in Washington next week as the two sides work to resolve their trade disagreements by March 1, when a 90-day truce is due to expire, allowing U.S. import duties on Chinese goods to increase sharply.

Washington and Beijing imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of goods in two-way trade last year.

Trump initiated the trade war because of complaints over unfair Chinese trade practices — concerns shared by the European Union, Japan and others.

The Financial Times and CNBC both reported Tuesday afternoon that Washington had canceled a preliminary meeting set for this week ahead of Liu’s visit.

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A woman tries out a sweater at a U.S. retailer Gap’s flagship store in Beijing, Jan. 10, 2019. Uncertainty over the outcome of China-U.S. trade talks is casting a pall over Asian markets as both sides kept quiet about what lies ahead.

American officials had reportedly cited a lack of progress on the most difficult issues in the trade dispute — including allegedly forced technology transfers and far-reaching structural reforms to China’s economy.

The reports sent Wall Street even further into the red. U.S. stocks had already opened lower on downgraded forecasts for global economic growth.

But, shortly before the close of trading in New York, top White House economic aide Larry Kudlow flatly denied the reports during an appearance on CNBC.

“With respect, the story is not true,” Kudlow said. “There was never a planned meeting that was canceled.”

Stock prices recovered some of their losses following his remarks but still finished substantially lower for the day.

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White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters about trade negotiations with China, at the White House, Dec. 3, 2018. VOA

Kudlow said the United States continued to press the Chinese on the subject of intellectual property and state intervention in markets, among other matters.

He also said American officials were insisting that any agreement have teeth to ensure Beijing’s compliance.

“Enforcement is absolutely crucial to the success of these talks,” Kudlow said.

“Will it be solved at the end of the month? I don’t know. I wouldn’t dare predict and want to make sure people understand how important that is to put it on the table.”

Also Read: Amidst Weakened Domestic Demand, China Expected To Report Slow Economic Growth

If both sides fail to reach a resolution to the trade war, U.S. duty rates on $200 billion in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25 percent from their current 10 percent, a prospect that has shaken markets in recent months.

Last year, the Chinese economy posted its slowest annual growth in nearly three decades, according to official figures published Monday in Beijing, underscoring concerns the trade conflict with the United States could sap the strength of the world’s second-largest economy and harm global growth in the process. (VOA)

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Despite Tariff War With U.S, China’s Economic Growth is Steady

The fight between the two biggest global economies has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.

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An employee working on the production line of an electronics factory is seen reflected on an equipment, in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, April 2, 2019. VOA

China’s economic growth held steady in the latest quarter despite a tariff war with Washington, in a reassuring sign that Beijing’s efforts to reverse a slowdown might be gaining traction.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4% over a year earlier in the three months ending in March, the government reported Wednesday. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.

“This confirms that China’s economic growth is bottoming out and this momentum is likely to continue,” said Tai Hui of JP Morgan Asset Management in a report.

Government intervention

Communist leaders stepped up government spending last year and told banks to lend more after economic activity weakened, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses.

Beijing’s decision to ease credit controls aimed at reining in rising debt “is starting to yield results,” Hui said.

Consumer spending, factory activity and investment all accelerated in March from the month before, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

The economy showed “growing positive factors,” a bureau statement said.

A delivery worker pushes boxes of goods at the capital city's popular shopping mall in Beijing, April 4, 2019. The U.S. and China opened a ninth round of talks Wednesday, aiming to further narrow differences in an ongoing trade war.
A delivery worker pushes boxes of goods at the capital city’s popular shopping mall in Beijing, April 4, 2019. The U.S. and China opened a ninth round of talks Wednesday, aiming to further narrow differences in an ongoing trade war. VOA

Recovery later this year

Forecasters expect Chinese growth to bottom out and start to recover later this year. They expected a recovery last year but pushed back that time line after President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports over complaints about Beijing’s technology ambitions.

The fight between the two biggest global economies has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.

The two governments say settlement talks are making progress, but penalties on billions of dollars of each other’s goods are still in place.

China’s top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, announced an annual official growth target of 6% to 6.5% in March, down from last year’s 6.6% rate.

Li warned of “rising difficulties” in the global economy and said the ruling Communist Party plans to step up deficit spending this year to shore up growth.

Beijing’s stimulus measures have temporarily set back official plans to reduce reliance on debt and investment to support growth.

Also in March, exports rebounded from a contraction the previous month, rising 14.2% over a year earlier. Still, exports are up only 1.4% so far this year, while imports shrank 4.8% in a sign of weak Chinese domestic demand.

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Chinese leaders warned previously any economic recovery will be “L-shaped,” meaning once the downturn bottomed out, growth would stay low. VOA

Auto sales fell 6.9% in March from a year ago, declining for a ninth month. But that was an improvement over the 17.5% contraction in January and February.

Tariffs’ effect long-lasting

Economists warn that even if Washington and Beijing announce a trade settlement in the next few weeks or months, it is unlikely to resolve all the irritants that have bedeviled relations for decades.

The two governments agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further penalties while they negotiate, but punitive charges already imposed on billions of dollars of goods stayed in place.

Even if they make peace, the experience of other countries suggests it can take four to five years for punitive duties to “dissipate fully,” said Jamie Thompson of Capital Economics in a report last week.

Chinese leaders warned previously any economic recovery will be “L-shaped,” meaning once the downturn bottomed out, growth would stay low.

Also Read: ‘Credible Threat’ Leads To Closing of Denver-Area Schools

Credit growth accelerated in March, suggesting companies are stepping up investment and production.

Total profit for China’s national-level state-owned banks, oil producers, phone carriers and other companies rose 13.1% over a year ago in the first quarter, the government reported Tuesday. Revenue rose 6.3% and investment rose 9.7%. (VOA)