Wednesday 23 October 2019

Deal hope: US and China edge closer to ending trade war

Demands: US President Donald Trump wants structural changes to China’s economy
Demands: US President Donald Trump wants structural changes to China’s economy

Jeff Mason

THE United States and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending a seven-month trade war, sources said.

The world's two largest economies have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods, slowing global economic growth, skewing supply chains and disrupting manufacturing.

As officials hold high-level talks yesterday and today in Washington, they remain far apart on demands made by US President Donald Trump's administration for structural changes to China's economy.

But the broad outline of what could make up a deal is beginning to emerge, the sources said, as the two sides push for a deal by March 1.

That date marks the end of a 90-day truce that Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed when they met in Argentina last year.

Negotiators are drawing up six memorandums of understanding on structural issues: forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade, according to two sources. At meetings between US and Chinese officials last week in Beijing the two sides traded texts and worked on outlining obligations on paper, according to one of the sources.

The process has become a real trade negotiation, the source said, so much so that at the end of the week the participants considered staying in Beijing to keep working. Instead they agreed to take a few days off and reconvene in Washington.

Several Chinese government sources said the two countries have basically reached a consensus on alleviating the trade imbalances, but there were still differences on each other's "core demands" that they were seeking to narrow.


Irish Independent

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