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July 29, 2019

U.S.-China In Person Trade Negotiations To Resume This Week

While this past week Chinese and U.S. officials hammered out the final details of an upcoming meeting on trade, some Trump administration officials – and President Donald Trump himself – indicated a new pact between the two countries might not be reached until next year.

In an interview on CNBC, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said, “I wouldn’t expect any grand deal … Talking to our negotiators, I think they’re going to reset the stage and hopefully go back to where the talks left off last May.”

According to Bloombergthat same day in an Oval Office meeting with reporters President Trump suggested Chinese officials are deliberately dragging their feet, and will say “let’s wait” until after the 2020 presidential election. The president also said, “I don’t think personally China would sign a deal if I had a two percent chance of losing the election … When I win, like almost immediately, they’re all going to sign deals.”

President Trump also potentially opened another trade battle with China last week by, in a memo, ordering U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pressure the World Trade Organization to crack down on countries the United States does not think should be regarded as developing nations. The president’s memo said, “the United States has never accepted China’s claim to developing-country status, and virtually every current economic indicator belies China’s claim.”

The president gave Ambassador Lighthizer 90 days to determine whether there’s been “substantial progress” toward limiting the number of countries considered developing nations.

Despite the uneasiness, Ambassador Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will travel to China this week to meet with their economic policy counterparts for the first face-to-face meetings on trade since the middle of May.

In a statement, the White House outlined a series of issues that the negotiators will discuss, including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, the trade deficit and enforcement.