July 1, 2019

United States, China Agree To Resume Trade Talks

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met over the weekend on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Japan and agreed to restart bilateral trade negotiations. (Information about the timing for the ongoing negotiations have not yet been revealed, however. Those details are expected to emerge in the next few weeks.)

To get the stalled discussions moving again, President Trump reportedly agreed to delay new tariffs on Chinese goods and to scale back restrictions on Chinese technology firm Huawei. Chinese officials agreed to buy more U.S. products.

In remarks after the meeting, President Trump said the talks were “back on track,” and that the encounter with Xi had gone “better than expected.” President Trump also said he hopes to solve the trade imbalance between the United States and Chine through dialogue, hopes China will purchase more products from the United States and that he and Xi can achieve equal treatment of companies from both countries.

While President Xi acknowledged the current problems between the two countries are not in either one’s interests, he also said China must defend core interests of sovereignty and pride.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, discussions between the two countries should continue to focus on three issues that the U.S. side has pushed: increased purchases of U.S. products; structural reforms related to issues such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection and industrial policies; and enforcement mechanisms – with the latter two remaining most difficult.

Even before the two presidents met, U.S. officials expressed optimism about the G-20 session. in an interview with CNBC earlier this week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a U.S.-China deal was “90 percent done.”

Still, the last 10 percent will be the most difficult and, in the meantime, U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese products remain in place. As such, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on June 30 launched a process allowing stakeholders to formally request (and support or object to) product exclusions under List 3 of the Trump administration’s China tariffs. (This list includes $200 billion worth of products that, starting in May, faced a 25 percent tariff.) Exclusions that are granted will be effective for one year following the publication of a final determination in the Federal Register. Click here to read the notice.