China Outlines Concessions to U.S. Ahead of G20 Talks

November 19, 2018

Bloomberg has reported that Chinese officials have outlined a series of potential concessions to the Trump administration for the first time since the summer as they continue to try to resolve a trade war, according to three people familiar with the discussions.


The commitments for now fall short of the type of major structural reforms that President Donald Trump has been demanding, cautioning that a long road lies ahead in negotiations. One person said that talks between the world’s two largest economies are continuing and constructive. As a result, it raised doubts over how substantive a deal Trump could make with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping when the two leaders meet later this month on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Most of the documents appeared to be a rehash of previous changes already made by Beijing, such as raising equity caps on foreign investment in certain industries. It did not contain the sort of commitment to change industrial policies such as Xi’s “Made in China 2025” that Washington has been seeking.


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Xi’s main economic emissary, Liu He, spoke last Friday for the first time in months. Since then, lower-level discussions have been held and Larry Kudlow, the head of Trump’s National Economic Council, on Tuesday said the two capitals were in touch "at all levels." On the American side, the discussions are currently being led by Mnuchin and the Treasury, which has raised questions among some observers about the process. Mnuchin is seen as an advocate within the administration of a deal, while others such as Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, have been pushing to continue raising pressure on Beijing to try to push for more meaningful reforms.


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