U.S. Put Further Trade Negotiations With China On Halt

October 30, 2018


Trade negotiations continued to simmer as the U.S. has announced that it will halt further talks with China until specific plans have been proposed concerning the "technological theft" and other economic issues.


The latest announcement jeopardized the November meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. Both sides have hoped to ease the tensions and issues concerning the trade war and many U.S. businesses have been counting on this progress. The negotiations continued to be on halt since mid-September when the Chinese canceled their trip to Washington after the US has announced that it levied $200 billion (RMB 1.3 trillion) on Chinese imports. China has hoped to resume talks, yet the US refused.


"If China wants [the G-20] to be a meaningful meeting, we need to do the groundwork," a senior White House official said. "And if they don't give us any information, it's just hard to see how that becomes fruitful."


Beijing has raised its concern about a formal offer, as it would create several risks for the Chinese government. Not only will China's position in the negotiations be revealed, but Beijing also fears that Trump will make this offer public in a statement, as a way "to lock in any concessions by China". There is a history behind Beijing's concerns, as offers have been made public already. In 1999, after the Chinese entry into the World Trade Organization, the Clinton administration made China's offer public, hoping to prevent them from backsliding. Instead, it sparked many domestic issues.


Beijing has also shown that it has taken the complaints about its trade policies seriously and has put together an import-promotion fair next month in Shanghai. More than 25 U.S. companies have rented space there, though the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said there are no plans for high-level U.S. government promotion.


Privately, U.S. officials have said that the trade fair makes their point about coercive Chinese practices. The Chinese officials have warned executives at several large companies that their businesses will suffer if they don’t participate in the event. A Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington dismissed the claim as a “groundless accusation.”


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