China and US resume face-to-face trade negotiations

World Today

In this Sept. 16, 2018, photo, American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. The American Chamber of Commerce in China says Beijing will “dig its heels in” after U.S. tariff hikes and appealed for a negotiated end to their trade battle. The chamber on Tuesday, Sept. 18 warned a “downward spiral” appears certain after President Donald Trump approved a tariff hike on $200 billion of Chinese imports in a dispute over Beijing’s technology policy. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

U.S. officials are in Beijing, ahead of face-to-face talks with Chinese negotiators. President Trump has said trade talks are going well, and that China’s weakening economy gives it more incentive to compromise.

The Beijing talks are part of a 90-day tariff-truce between Presidents Trump and Xi.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough filed this report from Washington.

The last time a U.S. delegation visited China to talk about trade grievances was in Beijing last June, with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. President Donald Trump had launched an all-out trade war. It’s contributed to global stock market instability, and even hit Apple’s earnings forecast.

However, the truce agreed to by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump over dinner at the G20 summit in early December means official negotiations are back on.

Even so, Trump was trying to apply pressure before Monday’s two-day meeting in Beijing even started.

“China’s not doing very well now, and that puts us in a very strong position. We are doing very well,” President Trump said. “I hope we’re going to make a deal with China. And if we don’t, they’re paying us tens of billions worth of tariffs.”

Trump sent a junior U.S. delegation, whose visit is being met with cautious optimism in China.

“The U.S. working team will hold positive and constructive discussions with the Chinese working team on implementation of the consensus reached between the Chinese and U.S. heads of state at a meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina,” Lu Kang of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

That consensus includes China cutting tariffs on U.S. vehicle imports, and once again buying U.S. agricultural products. This is partly to help reduce a growing trade deficit central to Washington’s complaints. Even so, there are more sensitive issues at stake.

The Trump administration accuses Beijing of forcing U.S. trade partners to hand over their trade secrets, while undercutting American companies. China denies it all.

These negotiations take place alongside a new diplomatic crisis. Washington is trying to extradite a top executive at telecoms giant Huawei from Canada, to stand trial for allegedly violating sanctions.

Sourabh Gupta discusses resumed trade contacts between the US and China