See More on Facebook

Economics

No let-up in China’s unfair trade practices, says US

Washington takes hardline stance ahead of Trump-Xi meeting; Beijing’s response muted.


Written by

Updated: November 22, 2018

The United States has accused China of continuing – and even stepping up – unfair trade practices that led to Washington imposing punitive tariffs on its goods, signalling that the fundamental dispute between the two remains far from resolved ahead of a highly anticipated meeting between their leaders next week at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Argentina.

“This update shows that China has not fundamentally altered its unfair, unreasonable and market-distorting practices that were the subject of the March 2018 report on our Section 301 investigation,” US trade chief Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Tuesday accompanying his office’s follow-up to the report earlier this year on China’s trade practices.

The unexpected and highly critical update was issued with just over a week to go before President Donald Trump meets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Many see the meeting as a chance for the two leaders to agree on a truce in their trade war before Jan 1 – when US tariffs on Chinese goods are set to rise to 25 per cent.

Tuesday’s update underscores the Trump administration’s belief that the course correction it is seeking from China has not materialised.

But, in contrast to America’s hardline stance, the response in Beijing to the update was muted, and it downplayed the differences between the two sides.

When asked about the latest US move, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a regular press briefing: “It is normal to have trade frictions, but what is key is to conduct dialogue and consultation based on mutual respect, equality and honesty.”

The 53-page update released in Washington said China had not done enough to address America’s concerns over its trade practices, adding that Beijing had even made clear – both in public statements and in government-to-government communications – that it would not change its policies despite the initial rounds of punitive tariffs in July and August.

“Indeed, China largely denied there were problems with respect to its policies involving technology transfer and intellectual property,” said the update.

Both sides have publicly dug in their heels in recent days, particularly during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea at the weekend.

US Vice-President Mike Pence, who attended the summit in place of Mr Trump, raised the stakes with a warning that America could more than double its tariffs on US$250 billion (S$344 billion) worth of Chinese goods, and vowing that the US “will not change course until China changes its ways”.

Mr Xi, for his part, denounced protectionist actions as short-sighted, and said that they were doomed to failure. Warning against escalating the conflict, he said: “History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, produces no winners.”

Chinese experts have read the US update as an attempt by Washington to exert pressure on Beijing ahead of the G-20 meeting, and said the tough stance means it is unlikely that Mr Trump and Mr Xi would reach a broad agreement next week.

Earlier, on Tuesday, White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow told Fox Business News that Mr Trump has stressed that “any deal between the two countries has got to be in American interests”. “(Any deal) has to have, frankly, more than we have seen so far,” he said.

But Mr Kudlow also said that Mr Trump was “taking an optimistic view”, adding that very detailed communications were occurring at all levels of government ahead of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires beginning on Nov 30.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics

Beijing slams unrest and backs HK govt’s use of lawful means to tackle it

Protests have shut down Hong Kong for the past several days before a government crackdown. Beijing yesterday condemned the unrest that broke out in Hong Kong over the city’s extradition Bill as an organised riot, and said it supported the local government’s use of lawful means to resolve the situation. Asked if the central government supported the use of rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong was against any act that undermines the city’s prosperity and stability. “Any civilised and lawful society will not tolerate the destruction of peace and tranquillity,” he said. “The Chinese central government strongly condemns all types of violence and supports the Hong Kong government to handle the matter according to the law.” Chinese state media


By The Straits Times
June 14, 2019

Economics

Vietnam to be among world’s most dynamic markets by 2030

The country has reached amazing levels of progress in the last two decades. With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research company. An Hodgson, Euromonitor International’s income and expenditure research manager, said the company’s research database showed that urbanisation, with the associated concentration of income, wealth and population, would propel Việt Nam’s commercial success by 2030. Published last month, the research database has found that Vietnam will be the third biggest urban market by consumer numbers and fifth biggest by total spending in Southeast Asia. By 2030, the country’s urban consumer market will expand to 46 million consumers and $169 billion worth of spending. GDP growth is expected to rea


By Viet Nam News
June 13, 2019

Economics

Hong Kong protests turn violent

At least 72 people taken to hospital during clashes with police. At least 72 people were injured and taken to hospital during clashes between police and protesters on Wednesday (June 12) over a contentious extradition Bill, said Hong Kong authorities. By night time, police officers were still in a stand-off with protesters on Queensway, not far from Admiralty Station, even though most of the protestors had dispersed following the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Earlier, police fired rubber bullets at protesters after they declared a “riot” as – for the second time in days – clashes broke out between police and protesters demonstrating against the controversial extradition Bill.


By The Straits Times
June 13, 2019

Economics

Li pledges to improve business climate

Li Keqiang says China taking steps to open up economy to foreign businesses Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed China’s commitment to improving its business environment by deepening reforms to streamline administration and carrying out large-scale tax cuts and fee reductions. Li said in a meeting on Tuesday with World Bank President David Malpass that the country will bring its business environment more in line with market principles, international standards and the rule of law as part of efforts to promote high-quality development. He noted China’s cooperation with the World Bank, which is in keeping with its steps in reform and opening-up and benefited the country’s growth. The global landscape is complex and fluid, and the Chinese economy is facing various risks and challenges, he said. Further cooperation between China and the World Bank will help promote poverty reduction, narrow


By China Daily
June 12, 2019

Economics

Abe to visit Iran to mediate with U.S.

The Japanese Prime Minister is due in Tehran today. The government is making arrangements for Abe to meet with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. Abe will encourage the United States and Iran to hold direct dialogue, aiming to mediate the increasing tensions between two countries over their nuclear agreement. It will be the first visit to Iran by an incumbent prime minister in 41 years, since former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda visited the country in 1978, and the first since the Islamic revolution of 1979. According to government sources, the government is considering having Abe meet with Rouhani on Wendesday and with Khamenei on Thursday. Foreign Minister Taro Kono will visit Teheran on Wednesday before Abe’s arrival and meet with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.


By The Japan News
June 12, 2019

Economics

Restrictions on Chinese firms could drive up 5G cost

China is increasing pressure on consumers in a bid to end restriction on its major tech firms. Europe would have to pay an extra 55 billion euros ($62 billion) for 5G networks and suffer an 18-month technology delay if it bans telecom equipment purchases from top Chinese manufacturers, according to an industrial report. The report by the GSM Association, which represents 750 mobile operators worldwide, said Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, the non-Chinese contenders in the 5G market, do not have the capacity to handle all of the shift from 3G and 4G networks to 5G in Europe while honoring contracts already signed in North America and Asia. Huawei and ZTE account for about 40 percent of the EU market, and Huawei is “currently a pioneer in 5G technology”, according to the GSM analysis, first reported by Reuters and Agence France-Presse on Friday. “A ban on Chinese v


By China Daily
June 11, 2019