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Trade talks would be constructive if US shows sincerity


Source: Global Times    Published: 2018-5-2

High-level trade negotiations between China and the US should be on an equal footing, and the US delegation must be sincere, and not use a "carrot-and-stick" approach, if the two sides are to reach any agreement, analysts said.

Led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the US delegation is scheduled to visit China on Thursday and Friday. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will exchange views on bilateral economic and trade issues of mutual concern with the US delegation, China`s Ministry of Commerce said.

"As long as the US delegation comes in good faith, the talks would be constructive," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

But she added that it is not realistic to expect that all problems would be resolved by one round of talks considering the sheer size of the two economies and the complex nature of their relations.

Before departing for China, Ross said Tuesday he had "some hope" that the two sides could reach an agreement, but he also tried to soften market expectations for a swift breakthrough, Bloomberg reported.

If the delegation does not reach a negotiated settlement to reduce the trade imbalance, the US would proceed to levy tariffs on as much as $150 billion worth of Chinese imports, Ross said.

Clear requests

"If Trump expects that `a carrot,` or the US senior officials` visit to China, along with his long-time hardball tactics would make China give in to all his demands, then he`s asking for the impossible. A dialogue should be conducted on an equal footing and with sincerity, and should never be China answering questions raised by the US," He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Trump`s cabinet members have repeatedly criticized China but are tight-lipped on the US pursuit of trade unilateralism.

Dong Yan, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences` Institute of World Economics and Politics in Beijing, predicted that the talks would center on key principles and main directions, instead of a detailed agreement.

"It`s more of a discussion, during which the US and China both put forward their demands," Dong told the Global Times on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the US` demands, based on US officials` rhetoric, are unreasonable. "They blamed China for the US trade deficit, accused China of misappropriating IPR and urged China to expand its market access … But what exactly does the US want?"

In contrast, China`s requests are much clearer. In the short-run, the country`s demands are to halt the month-long tit-for-tat tariff war and bring US trade practices back to the WTO framework, Dong said.

"China will be flexible at negotiations if the US makes corresponding concessions, such as relaxing its restrictions on high-tech exports to China and opening investments to Chinese firms in the high-tech sector," He said.

China will also aim to build strategic mutual trust with the US and explore a long-term communication through dialogue, experts said.

He Weiwen is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: trade   China   US   He Weiwen  

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