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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.

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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.

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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

This Decade to be Good for the Financial Health of Millennials

2020s Could Be Decade Millennials Finally Get Ahead

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Millennials
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Print this page The 2020s might be the decade faltering millennials finally roar to financial health. Pixabay

By Dora Mekouar

The 2020s might be the decade faltering millennials finally roar to financial health and lifestyle after a tough start brought on by the Great Recession, which lasted from 2007 until 2009.

Coming of age during the worst economic downturn in the United States since the 1930s meant that many of these young people, who are now in their mid-20s to late-30s, experienced a delayed entrance into the job market or accepted lower-paying jobs for which they were overqualified.

Many millennials were hard hit due to a variety of factors, including high unemployment, student loan debt, and an increased cost of living, particularly if they graduated from high school or college during the downturn.

Millennials
Millennials Andy and Stacie Proctor stand in their new home in Vineyard, Utah. VOA

“Since then, we’ve really had a lot of wage stagnation, particularly given that so many millennials started behind where they thought they would be,” says Jason Dorsey, president and lead millennial researcher at the Center for Generational Kinetics. “And it’s taken them longer to recover — if they have recovered.”

Experts also say U.S. millennials are the first generation to feel the full impact of decades of rising inequality in America.

A recent study found millennials are significantly financially worse off than previous generations were at the same age. Since 1996, the net worth of people under 35 has dropped by more than one-third, or 34 percent.

But things could be looking up for these younger Americans now that the average U.S. millennial is over the age of 30 and poised to enter the wealth-accumulation stage of their life.

“They’ve had a lot of time to learn about what it takes to succeed? What are the kinds of decisions that lead to the outcome that you want?” Dorsey says. “And for many millennials, boomers [people aged 55 to 75] are finally going to transition increasingly out of the workforce, which is going to create opportunity for them to actually move up into more management-style roles.”

Millennials
Juan Hernandez, 25, is among millennials nationwide with student debt who are worried about being able to qualify for a loan and come up with a down payment for a home. VOA

Millennials are at the age when Americans traditionally buy homes, start saving for the future, and invest for their retirement. It also will help that many have paid down their student debt now that they’ve been out of college for a number of years.

“And at the same time, many of them will become potentially two-income households and that’s also really helpful for many of them,” Dorsey says. “It’s sort of a perfect storm. It just happens to align with the 2020s. It’s not that the 2020s are this famous decade, but more so that millennials are hitting the times when they should start really saving and investing, and earning higher incomes relative to their spending.”

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And if millennials blame previous generations for their current financial straits, it might cheer them up to know this is also the time many of them can expect to start inheriting wealth from their more well-off baby boomer parents or other relatives. (VOA)