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  • Containers piled up at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China Apr. 24, 2018.

    Containers piled up at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China Apr. 24, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 January 2019

President Xi Jinping's top economic aide will lead his country's team at the second round of negotiations.

The next round of negotiations to end U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war against China will be held in Washington on Jan. 30 and 31, the South China Morning Post reported.

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is one of the leading economic advisors of China's President Xi Jinping, will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

At the conclusion of the first round of negotiations, which were held in Beijing from Jan. 7 to 9, neither of the two countries specified whether they had reached any kind of agreement.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that the conference had served to "improve the mutual understanding and to lay foundations to address the concerns of each one" after some "exhaustive, detailed and in-depth dialogs on trade and structural problems of mutual interest."

For its part, Washington's statement only specified that the meeting's objective was "to achieve necessary structural changes in China with respect to forced transfer of technology, protection of intellectual property, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and virtual theft of business secrets."

U.S. officials also stressed that China's commitment to "acquire a considerable amount of agricultural, energy and manufactured goods as well as other products and services from the United States" was discussed.

The upcoming meeting is expected to offer more concrete results than those achieved at the Beijing meeting. However, according to the analyst S. George Marano, the U.S. trade war against China is unlikely to end soon.

“This trade war should be viewed as a tactic in the overall China containment strategy; the ultimate aim of the U.S. is to halt China’s rise. Yet America has never had an economic peer competitor. Its previous conflict with the USSR was fought on ideological grounds,” Marano explained to the South China Morning Post, adding that “the U.S. is in the unenviable position of being damned if it does and damned if it doesn't, with respect to the rise of China.”

Nevertheless, presidents Xi and Trump agreed to a trade truce on Dec. 1. 2018, a period of 90 days to close a definitive commercial pact.

Since then, China has adopted several good-will measures such as lowering tariffs on vehicles imported from the United States, the resumption of the purchase of soy and the presentation of a bill to prohibit the forced transfer of technology.

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