China talks: Trump clashes with own trade negotiator

Muriel Colon
March 2, 2019

Some have expressed concerns that after almost eight months of tit-for-tat tariffs roiling global financial markets, disrupting manufacturing supply chains, and shrinking USA farm exports, Trump could end up settling for a deal that increases commodity sales to Beijing while doing little to change China's underlying trade practices and industrial policies.

"Trump has now substantially ratcheted up the pressure on his negotiators to strike a deal with China, even if it does little to assuage USA hard-liners' concerns about China's commitments on core structural issues", said Cornell University China expert Eswar Prasad.

As a result, tariff increases scheduled for March 1 will be delayed, he said.

"We need to have legitimate structural changes &enforcement w China or else they will continue cheating &stealing our IP/trade secrets", said Grassley, who is from Iowa, an state hard hit by China's retaliatory duties on USA soybeans. "We expect more United States crude to come to China as a result of Beijing's promise to increase United States energy imports", a Beijing-based trader told S&P Global Platts. The United States is offering no real concessions in return, other than to remove the tariff barriers Trump has imposed to force change from China.

"As it is, we continue to view the trade matter through an opaque screen and make assumptions from the shadows of President Donald Trump", Pan said in a commentary.

The two nations met for a seventh round of talks last week, the third in a month, to try to make headway.

Noting the many questions on the state of trade negotiations from governors, Trump added: "China is everywhere".

The U.S. agreed in December to delay by 90 days a planned 25 percent increase in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports so that the two leaders could attempt to talk out their trade differences.

The trade war was started by Trump over claims of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft by the Chinese. It lost 3.1 percent to settle at $55.48 a barrel in NY after Trump criticized rising oil prices in an early morning tweet.

It's better than the alternative, which is to make production practically impossible here in the US via the Green New Deal, incentivizing factories and growth elsewhere including China and making Americans even more dependent on imports.

Still, US companies see the tariffs have got both governments to sit at the negotiating table and hash out their issues, Mr Stratford said.

In fact, Trump has become much more dovish on the trade war than his lead negotiator, which, according to Bloomberg, has created cracks in their relationship. Washington and Beijing are looking at a 10-item list for that, including additional Chinese purchases of agricultural produce, energy and goods such as semiconductors. Securing some rather minor concessions from China to purchase more soybeans from the USA was the easy part, but forcing sweeping changes to its trade practices - the so-called "structural reforms - will be extremely hard, if not potentially unobtainable".

Perdue has overseen $12 billion in federal aid to USA farmers for losses they have sustained because of the trade war.

"At this point, the U.S. has likely gotten all it's going to get out of China".

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