June 24, 2019

Trump Administration Confirms Talks With China As Administration Hits Chinese Steel Propane Cylinders With New Duties

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials last week confirmed U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in person during the June 28-29 G-20 meetings in Osaka, Japan. President Trump also announced on Twitter that he had a “very good” conversation on June 18 with President Xi. According to a White House statement, the two leaders discussed the importance of “leveling the playing field for U.S. farmers, workers and businesses through a fair and reciprocal economic relationship” and about “addressing structural barriers to trade with China and achieving meaningful reforms that are enforceable and verifiable.”

Additionally, in June 19 testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that he expected to talk with Chinese officials in the coming days and that he and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also would meet their counterparts in Osaka to lay the groundwork for the meeting between President Trump and President Xi. Ambassador Lighthizer also said, “I think it’s in the interests of both China and the United States to have some kind of successful agreement.”

These meetings likely will focus on outstanding issues related to a potential bilateral trade deal, including structural reform and enforcement mechanisms that would need to be resolved before a deal could be finalized.

As a show of good faith before the G-20 meeting, the Chinese government announced its intention to not “weaponize” its currency exchange rate. Specifically, the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, announced it would sell 20 billion yuan (U.S. $2.9 billion) of one-month bonds and 10 billion yuan of six-month bonds in Hong Kong on June 26.

In related news: the U.S. Commerce Department announced it had determined some steel propane cylinders from China and Thailand are being sold at less than fair value in the United States and that some from China are unfairly subsidized.

The department ordered duties on the imports and final dumping duty rates for imports from Thailand will 10.77 percent while duty rates for imports from China will range from 25.52 percent to 108.6 percent. Final subsidy rates for China, meanwhile, will range from 37.91 percent to 142.37 percent. Steel propane cylinders from China are worth approximately $90 million while the imports from Thailand are valued at approximately $14.1 million. Click here to read the International Trade Administration’s fact sheet on this matter.