US and China agree to more dialogue after trade talks, but big differences remain


US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (C) and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (2nd R-partly hidden) walk through a hotel lobby as they head to the Diaoyutai State Guest House to meet Chinese officials in Beijing on May 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI)

At trade talks between the U.S. and China, the only solid agreement was to keep talking. China reports no breakthrough, but some consensus, despite the sides being ‘very divided.’ The primary demand of the U.S. team was a significant reduction in the trade deficit. CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

Charles Hankla discusses what lies ahead for US-China trade

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Charles Hankla about where the U.S. and China stand after the trade talks in Beijing. Hankla is an associate professor of political science at Georgia State University.

Frank Samolis talks outcomes and next steps for U.S.-China trade talks

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar and Sean Calleb spoke with Frank Samolis about his assessment of the U.S.-China trade talks.

Samolis is the co-chair of International Trade Practice at Squire Patton Boggs. He also handles matters that go before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

More from The Associated Press

Analysts: US trade demands could make deal with China harder

A list of hard-line demands that the Trump administration handed China this week could make it even more difficult to resolve a trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

That’s the view of trade analysts who say the U.S. insistence that Beijing shrink America’s gaping trade deficit with China by $200 billion by the end of 2020, among other demands, are more likely to raise tensions than to calm them.

A U.S. official confirmed the authenticity of a document outlining U.S. priorities that was presented to China ahead of two days of trade talks that ended Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the talks.

In Washington on Friday, President Donald Trump said, “We have to bring fairness in trade between the U.S. and China, and we will do that.” Trump had campaigned for the presidency on a promise to reduce America’s trade deficit with China, which amounted last year to $337 billion in goods and services.

Seeking to avert a trade war, the United States this week sent a high-level delegation to Beijing, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The delegation included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and Peter Navarro, a White House trade adviser and hard-line critic of Chinese policies.

After the talks ended, China’s Commerce Ministry said the two sides had agreed to establish a mechanism to try to resolve their dispute, though differences remained, Chinese state media reported. The report did not give specifics, suggesting that little progress had been achieved.

The U.S. document is described, in an introductory disclaimer, as being provided to the Chinese ahead of the visit to Beijing by the U.S. officials. It included demands that China immediately stop providing subsidies to industries listed in a key industrial plan. China must end some of its policies related to technology transfers, a key source of tension underlying the dispute, the list also says.

The U.S. wants China not to retaliate against U.S. measures currently being pursued against it. For instance, the U.S. says China should agree not to target U.S. farmers or agricultural products and “not oppose, challenge or otherwise retaliate” when the U.S. moves to restrict Chinese investment in the U.S. in sensitive sectors.

The two sides “reached consensus in some areas,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.

“Both sides realized that there are still relatively big differences over some issues and that they need to continue to work hard to make more improvements,” the report said.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. delegation. A motorcade was seen leaving the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Friday afternoon and the group departed China later in the day.

The list of U.S. demands was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

The dispute will be tough to resolve because the fundamental issue is that the U.S. wants to stop China from moving up the so-called value chain as it transforms into an advanced economy, said Louis Kuijs, head Asia economist at Oxford Economics. But “there’s no way that China’s going to change its strategy on that.”

Kuijs said the ball is now in the U.S. court on deciding whether the talks were fruitful and merit more discussion or that they’re stalled and Washington needs to take more serious measures targeting China.

This is “much more than just a trade dispute,” Kuijs said. “This is very much about economic strategy and the U.S. coming to grips with a big country running its economy in a way that the U.S. is uncomfortable with, and becoming successful, and starting to threaten U.S. dominance.”


Associated Press writers Gillian Wong, Paul Wiseman and Dake Kang contributed to this report.