Source: Global Times Published: 2019-1-29
Chinese and US officials are facing pressure to strike a deal to end their trade stand-off before a fast approaching deadline, as they prepare for a new round of trade negotiations in Washington starting Wednesday.
A high-level Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington on Monday, local time, to meet with the US delegation led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for the second round of talks since leaders of the two countries reached a truce in December.
There are high expectations for the world's two largest economies to reach a deal before March 1 to end the trade war, given its impact on not only the Chinese and US economies but the global economy as well.
"For not only their economies but the global economy as a whole, Chinese and US officials must reach a deal to end the trade war," Liu Ying, a research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.
"Deep differences still exist. But if the two sides hold objective and fair talks, then they can still make a breakthrough," Liu said, adding that the two sides will also likely reach a deal for China to purchase more US agricultural, energy and other products. China could also open its market to US financial firms and enhance IPR protection, as it has been doing under its own reform and opening-up policies.
"However, the US cannot continue its baseless accusations against China and seek to change the development path of the Chinese economy. That's the bottom line for China," she said.
Both China and the US appear eager for an agreement to end the trade war, as they grapple with their own domestic issues.
In China, downward pressure on economic growth persists and has many concerned; and in the US, the recent turmoil in the stock market and a stalemate between the White House and Congress over a border wall that saw the US government shut down for over a month are also pushing US officials toward a breakthrough in the trade talks, Liu said.
Reflecting on the high importance the US administration places on the talks, the White House announced on Monday that President Donald Trump will meet with Liu on Thursday.
The size of the two delegations also shows the two sides' commitment to a deal. The Chinese side is also composed of Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, and other officials. The US delegation also includes US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow and officials from other agencies.
US officials have indicated that they will push for structural economic reforms in China to address its long-held grievances, from industrial policies to intellectual property rights protection to the so-called forced technology transfers, which China has pushed back on.
But some Chinese analysts warned that although the two countries are likely to reach an end to the tariff war, US criminal charges against Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou would make the situation more complex and unpredictable.
Liu Ying is a research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.