US-China stand off to dominate G20
Trade tensions between the United States and China are likely to dominate the G20 summit of the world's 20 biggest economies next week, according to a senior European Union official who said the EU was keen to act as a bridge-builder.
The United States and China have been imposing tariffs on each others goods in an escalating dispute over market access, forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights and state subsidies to certain sectors that distort competition.
The European Union, Canada and Japan are also involved because of US tariffs on steel and aluminium products imposed by Washington earlier this year.
"The success of the G20 summit this year will be measured by its capacity to de-escalate the current trade tensions," the EU official, involved in preparations for the talks, said the officials.
The official said the EU shared many of the US concerns over China's trade practices, but favoured a different approach. While Washington pursued unilateral actions, the EU wants to deal with them in the World Trade Organisation.
The US is sceptical, saying the WTO is not equipped to deal with the new trade challenges.
"The aim of the EU is to really now engage in the reform of the WTO, to provide political impetus through the G20 for the reform and get an update on progress at next year's G20 summit under the Japanese presidency," the official said.