China Trade Talks Begin, No Major Agreement Expected

Silicon Valley dominates the way we live and communicate — and it’s China snapping at the U.S.’s heels | David Ramos  Getty Images

A USA delegation of top Trump administration officials arrived in Beijing on Thursday for talks with Chinese officials on defusing tensions that are propelling the world's two largest economies toward a trade war.

A guide to the US-China trade talks: can the two squabbling powerhouses defuse the tension? Analysts say it is unlikely their differences will be resolved during the meetings but a decision to keep talking would be welcome progress.

President Trump is praising his "great financial team" as US trade and economic officials begin arriving in China. The difficulty will always be that we will most of the time hear pretty positive things from China and the question is whether they will actually do them.

By contrast, after a series of bureaucratic reorganizations in recent months, many of China's top trade negotiators are now economists and bankers with little practical experience in trade matters.

U.S. President Donald Trump has used China's mammoth steel and aluminium sectors as justification for imposing tariffs on global supplies, causing an outcry from many countries. It recently pledged to do away with a 25 percent tariff on imported foreign cars, albeit by 2022. China argues that the United States should increase its own exports, pointing out strong Chinese demand for USA high-tech products on which Washington imposes export restrictions.

News of the demands emerged on the second and final day of talks between high-level delegations from the two sides, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic advisor. How much can be accomplished, depends on Washington, he says.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday it was not his objective to change China's economic system, but that he would try to find ways to limit the damage it causes to the United States and open it further for US companies. "China will make some concessions, but if Washington's appetite is too big, that will be tough for Beijing to accept".

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A start time for that clash is yet to be confirmed, with Indian officials reportedly reluctant to agree to a day-night Test. For the first time, Test Cricket will be held at the state-of-the-art Perth Stadium and Canberra's Manuka Oval.

Stealing American IP, in turn, advances Beijing's "Made in China 2025" initiative to eventually dominate global exports in 10 critical sectors - namely, artificial intelligence and next-generation information technology, robotics, new-energy vehicles, biotechnology, energy and power generation, aerospace, high-tech shipping, advanced railway, new materials, and agricultural machinery.

The policy clearly sets goals for domestic industries to dominate over foreign players in the Chinese market and globally.

"The US wants greater access to China's market, but it should not use trade actions as a battering ram to force China to open its doors".

On that strategic blueprint, however, Beijing looks unlike to relinquish any ground says Yu Miaojie, a professor at Peking University's National School of Development.

"I would be somewhat surprised if there was any real change in the negotiating stance of either party".

The arrival of the USA trade delegation indicated the United States has "taken a step towards avoiding a massive trade war", China's widely-read and often hawkish Global Times newspaper said in a commentary. "I am hopeful though that progress will be made during the visit, with the end game being a commercial relationship based on fairness and reciprocal treatment that will benefit the USA and like-minded trading partners, as well as China", Zarit said.

"It is important to communicate with each other to try to settle on a deal that is acceptable to both countries", Zhu said.

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