Monday January 21, 2019
Home Lead Story Next Step In ...

Next Step In U.S-China Trade Talks Remain Uncertain

This week’s talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

0
//
US -CHINA TRADE TALks
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.

The United States says talks in Beijing on ending a bruising trade war focused on Chinese promises to buy more American goods. But it gave no indication of progress on resolving disputes over Beijing’s technology ambitions and other thorny issues.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday the two sides would “maintain close contact.” But neither side gave any indication of the next step during their 90-day cease-fire in a tariff fight that threatens to chill global economic growth.

That uncertainty left Asian stock markets mixed Thursday. Share prices had risen Wednesday after President Donald Trump fueled optimism on Twitter about possible progress.

No signs of progress

However, the USTR statement emphasized American insistence on “structural changes” in Chinese technology policy, market access, protection of foreign patents and copyrights and cybertheft of trade secrets. It gave no sign of progress in those areas.

USA, trump, shutdown
Flags fly in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday morning, Jan. 1, 2019 VOA

Trump hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

Washington also wants changes in an array of areas including the ruling Communist Party’s initiatives for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics, artificial intelligence and other industries.

American leaders worry those plans might erode U.S. industrial leadership, but Chinese leaders see them as a path to prosperity and global influence and are reluctant to abandon them.

The two sides might be moving toward a “narrow agreement,” but “U.S. trade hawks” want to “limit the scope of that agreement and keep the pressure up on Beijing,” said Eurasia Group analysts of Michael Hirson, Jeffrey Wright and Paul Triolo in a report.

“The risk of talks breaking down remains significant,” they wrote.

US-China
People walk by bull sculptures titled “Five Bulls Gathering Fortune” on display at the Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing, Jan. 10, 2019.

White House optimism

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders expressed optimism to Fox Business Network. She said the timing was unclear but the two sides “are moving towards a more balanced and reciprocal trade agreement with China.”

The U.S. statement said negotiations dealt with the need for “ongoing verification and effective enforcement.” That reflects American frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments.

Beijing has tried to defuse pressure from Washington and other trading partners over industrial policy promising to buy more imports and open its industries wider to foreign competitors.

Trump has complained repeatedly about the U.S. trade deficit with China, which last year likely exceeded the 2017 gap of $336 billion.

USA, Trade
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey D. Gerrish, center, and members of his delegation leave the Westin hotel in Beijing, China, Jan. 7, 2019, for talks with their Chinese counterparts. (VOA)

Enthusiasm wears thin

U.S. stocks surged Wednesday on optimism higher-level U.S. and Chinese officials might meet.

That enthusiasm was wearing thin Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.5 percent while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dropped 1.4 percent.

Economists say the 90-day window is too short to resolve all the conflicts between the biggest and second-biggest global economies.

“We can confidently say that enough progress was made that the discussions will continue at a higher level,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council. “That is very positive.”

Chinese exports to the U.S. have held up despite tariff increases, partly because of exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit. Forecasters expect American orders to slump this year.

USA, china, trade talks
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish (front), key member of the U.S. trade delegation to China, arrives at a hotel in Beijing, Jan. 6, 2019. VOA

China has imposed penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for U.S. companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

U.S. companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. Those include subsidies and other favors for high-tech and state-owned industry, rules on technology licensing and preferential treatment of domestic suppliers in government procurement.

Also Read-Future Cyber Attacks May Be Seen As The New ‘Normal’

For its part, Beijing is unhappy with U.S. export and investment curbs, such as controls on “dual use” technology with possible military applications. They say China’s companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though almost all deals are approved unchanged.

This week’s talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran. (VOA)

 

Next Story

Humanitarian Issues to Figure Prominently At The World Economic Forum

The head of the U.N. Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore will champion the needs of children and young people who are caught up in humanitarian crises

0
World Economic Forum
People walk up stairs at the congress center where the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019, WEF, take place in Davos, Jan. 20, 2019. VOA

Heads of U.N. and international aid agencies will use the World Economic Forum’s influential platform to present humanitarian and human rights issues on behalf of millions of people caught in conflict, poverty and natural disasters. The Forum begins its annual weeklong meeting in the plush Swiss Alpine resort of Davos on Monday.

The World Economic Forum is best known for the many high-powered government and business leaders who make the annual pilgrimage to Davos to acquire lucrative deals and shape geopolitical events.

But the annual event also presents a robust humanitarian agenda. This year, the Forum, World Bank and International Committee of the Red Cross will launch a humanitarian Investing Initiative. The aim is to seek new solutions for protracted humanitarian crises by moving from short-term to long-term funding to support fragile communities.

United Nations aid agencies will feature prominently during the week-long meeting. The World Food Program’s executive director, David Beasley, will co-host events, such as ‘conflict and hunger’ and ‘the use of digital technology in the humanitarian sector.’

World Economic Forum
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum holds the meeting’s manifesto as he addresses a news conference ahead of the Davos annual meeting in Cologny near Geneva. VOA

Global Tensions

WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says the group will be seeking support for its operations. He says many of the companies attending Davos understand that investments in food security are fundamental to business success.

“It saves lives and builds stronger markets around the world. In fact, it can increase GDPs by up to 16.5 percent and a person’s lifetime earnings by 46 percent,” he said.

With more than 3,000 of the world’s movers and shakers from 110 countries present, aid agencies see the Forum as a valuable opportunity to strengthen relationships with world leaders and keep their life-saving missions on the world’s agenda.

World Economic Forum
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 5, 2018. VOA

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet will be attending events on a wide range of topics. Her spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, says these include LGBTI or Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex standards in businesses, and human rights and democracy in a changing world.

“A couple of events on women’s rights as human rights and female leadership. The importance of women playing a role in global affairs by creating a new architecture that allows them to fully participate as leaders and shapers,” she said.

Also Read: The World Economic Forum To Discuss Globalization, Climate Change

The head of the U.N. Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore will champion the needs of children and young people who are caught up in humanitarian crises or are being left behind because of extreme poverty and lack of development.

U.N. Development Program Administrator, Achim Steiner will seek to raise $100 million from Davos’ wealthy clientele to protect wild animals and their habitats. (VOA)