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Business, Economics

China, US top trade negotiators to meet in Shanghai

The two sides have not met since Trump and Xi met at the G20 summit.


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Updated: July 26, 2019

Top Chinese and United States negotiators will hold the 12th round of economic and trade talks in Shanghai during July 30-31, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The meetings scheduled for next week will be the first face-to-face discussions between the two sides since their leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan last month.

Gao Feng, the ministry’s spokesman, said that holding negotiations in different places is normal.

“Shanghai has good conditions for conducting consultations,” Gao said, without elaborating.

ALSO READ: Trade talks restart gives financial market reasons to be cheerful

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He to continue negotiations aimed at improving the bilateral trade relationship, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

Analysts said they hope that China and the United States will iron out their differences and deliver a win-win outcome as top negotiators from both nations resumed trade talks on Tuesday.

Yan Jinming, executive dean of National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China, said the consensus reached between the two countries’ leaders set a positive tone for future high-level economic and trade talks.

“I hope China and the US will properly solve their differences and conflicts about the trade issue, cooperate with each other and seek win-win results, so as to enhance the well-being of people from both countries and the rest of the world,” Yan said.

Diao Daming, associate professor at Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies, said the essence of China-US trade friction is competition between huge economies.

“The China-US high-level economic and trade consultations have been resumed. The main goal of the talks is to stabilize bilateral relations through ad hoc mechanisms and set an example for solving potential problems in the future,” Diao said.

China and the US, after their leaders’ meeting in Osaka, are seeking to advance their talks, which stalled in May, and to end the costly trade war, analysts said.

The two countries have exchanged tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s imports, while Washington had tightened its restrictions on many Chinese companies.

In addition to resumption of phone talks, there was an another positive sign as the Office of US Trade Representive said on Tuesday it will temporarily exempt 110 Chinese products, from medical equipment to key capacitors, from 25 percent tariffs imposed last July, Reuters reported.

Also, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the US government will issue licenses to US companies seeking to sell products to Huawei Technologies Co when there is no threat to national security, according to a statement released on the department’s website on Tuesday.

But Huawei remains on the Entity List of companies that are deemed to pose a threat to the US, and the announcement does not change the scope of items requiring licenses from the US Department of Commerce nor the presumption of denial, Ross added.

Huawei was put on the Entity List in May and was banned from buying technologies originating in the US without special government approval.

Lyu Tingjie, a telecommunications professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said the Commerce Department failed to specify which products will continue to be restricted from being sold to Huawei. Lyu said such an opaque statement will only add costs and pressure to US suppliers of Huawei.

“The US government seems to show a gesture by relaxing the ban on Huawei, but it declined to remove the Chinese tech company from the blacklist. It is more like playing a negotiating game,” Lyu said.

Fabiana Fedeli, global head of fundamental equities at Robeco Institutional Asset Management BV, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, said the statement that US companies could continue to sell certain products to Huawei is a positive sign, but “it could easily be retracted or not followed by a more comprehensive agreement”.

“I also continue to be very worried about supply chains, particularly in the information technology area. Companies will not only have to incur investments and costs to transfer their supply chains outside of China, but this will (also) imply the likely fragmentation of such chains, for there is hardly any other country such as China that can currently offer the same level of availability of workers and infrastructure,” Fedeli said.



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About the Author: ANN’s Board member Ms Esther Ng, Malaysia’s The Star’s Chief Content Officer, has been bestowed the 2019 Asian Women Entrepreneurs Leadership Award in the Media and Communications category.

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