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

South Korea urges region to embrace multilateralism, free trade

Wide gap remains after bilateral meeting of Kang and Kono. The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan remained at odds in their bilateral meeting held in China on Wednesday, reiterating their respective stances on Tokyo’s wartime forced labor and trade curbs. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, met for 35 minutes on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Gubei Water Town near the Great Wall in northern Beijing. “Kang strongly urged Kono to retract the country’s decision to remove South Korea from its “whitelist” of countries with fast-track trade status u


By The Korea Herald
August 22, 2019

Economics

China to impose sanctions on US firms over Taiwan arms sales

The US have approved the sale of F16 fighter jets to Taiwan. China on Wednesday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned arms sales to Taiwan, saying China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests including imposing sanctions on US companies involved in the planned sales. The US Defense Department on Wednesday officially notified the US Congress of the plan to sell 66 F-16 fighters and relevant equipment worth around US$8 billion to Taiwan and to provide support. “China firmly opposes the plan and has lodged solemn representations and protests to the US side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing. ALSO READ: 


By China Daily
August 22, 2019

Economics

Seoul reviews military intel-sharing pact with Japan

Koreans divided on GSOMIA as the deadline for renewal emerges on Saturday. Nearly six decades have passed since South Korea and Japan signed a treaty to normalize diplomatic ties in 1965, but their relationship has been fraught since then with continued bitterness over the history of Korea’s colonization. Now, as the relationship of the “frenemies” hits a new low with a budding trade war, Seoul has hinted at scrapping a military intel-sharing pact with Tokyo. But while South Koreans are unified in denouncing Japan’s increased controls on exports to South Korea, opinions are split over whether it is appropriate to use the military informati


By The Korea Herald
August 21, 2019

Economics

Ho Chi Minh attracts nearly 4 billion USD in investment in 2019

Manufacturing and textiles among key sectors. HCM City attracted about US$3.63 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital in the first seven months of this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 15.2 per cent, according to the municipal People’s Committee. Nearly $688.8 million came from 678 newly registered projects, up 26.9 per cent in value and 18.3 per cent in the number of projects from the same period last year. In the period, 2,668 foreign investors bought shares and acquired stakes of domestic enterprises with total registered capital of $2.6 billion, 28.3 per cent and 16.7 per cent higher respectively than in the same period last year. Meanwhile, HCM City granted business licences to 24,529 new domestic enterprises worth more than VND396 trillion ($17 billion), up 0.9 per cent and 25.7 per cent, respectively. Up to 71,874 existing enterprises were allowed to add a c


By Viet Nam News
August 20, 2019

Economics

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019

Economics

Taiwan raises 2019 GDP growth forecast

GDP growth raised on investment data. Taiwan has raised its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2019, reflecting increased investment in Taiwan by local suppliers looking to steer clear of the trade dispute between the United States and China. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said in a statement Friday that it has revised its estimate for GDP growth in 2019 to 2.46 percent, up 0.27 percentage points from its previous forecast in May. A big factor in the revision was increased investment at home by Taiwan-based companies operating in China that wanted to increase their production capacity in Taiwan to avoid punitive tariffs imposed by the United States on goods made in China, the DGBAS said. The trade dispute has also prompted a shakeup in the global electronics supply chain, leading to more production capacity in Taiwan, the DGBAS said.


By ANN Members
August 19, 2019