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June 10, 2019

United States, China Exchange Heated Words On Trade

Based on rhetoric tossed back and forth last week between U.S. and Chinese officials, trade negotiations between the countries remain stalled, and could be for some time. Over the weekend of June 1, as Politico reports, the Chinese government laid the blame squarely on the United States for the breakdown of trade talks. In a white paper, the State Council Information Office said the U.S. government “should bear the sole and entire responsibility” for the current stalemate.

The United States government responded by blaming China and then, while on a trip to Europe, President Donald Trump threatened to escalate the tensions between the two countries. In Ireland on Wednesday, President Trump said he is considering whether to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in products from China. In remarks in France a day later, President Trump told reporters he’d make that decision within the next two weeks.

Chinese officials didn’t let the comment go unanswered. According to Reuters, Chinese ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, “If the United States willfully decides to escalate tensions, we’ll fight to the end …  China does not want to fight a trade war, but also is not afraid of one.”

The rhetoric extended to Capitol Hill where Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also weighed in last week on trade negotiations with China. According to Politico, at the U.S.-China Business Council’s membership meeting he said he wants reciprocity with China, and that if China is going to deny U.S. businesses market access in key industries, the United States should deny Chinese businesses access to U.S. markets in a reciprocal way.

The back and forth between the two countries also came as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced additional exclusions from the United States’ 25 percent tariffs on Chinese. Click here to read that announcement.

The USTR also announced some China exports to the United States won’t be subject to tariff increase to 25 percent from 10 percent until June 15. Click here to read that announcement.