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  • Aides set up platforms before a group photo with members of U.S. and Chinese trade negotiation delegations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China February 15, 2019.

    Aides set up platforms before a group photo with members of U.S. and Chinese trade negotiation delegations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 October 2019

Although wanting to end the 15-month trade war, Chinese Communist Party officials are not optimistic about the size or scope of any agreement with Washington in the short-term.

China and United States officials failed to yield any progress on critical issues on this week’s 13th round of trade talks, according to two sources who spoke with the South China Morning Post, even as President Donald Trump expressed fresh optimism Wednesday.

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Speaking to reporters in Washington, Trump said that “If we can make a deal, we’re going to make a deal, there’s a really good chance,” yet adding that in his “opinion China wants to make a deal more than I do.”

But China does not seem so confident of this actually happening. Although wanting to end the 15-month trade war, Chinese Communist Party officials are not optimistic about the size or scope of any agreement with Washington in the short-term, they told Reuters.

“They have made no progress,” said another source familiar with the talks, adding that the Chinese side had not made headway in persuading U.S. negotiators to consider a freeze on tariff increases, the main priority for Beijing.

While a second source said that the Chinese delegation is planning to leave Washington on Thursday after just one day of high-level talks, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party and chief of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

This comes as the U.S. Commerce Department blacklisted 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies in a filing released after U.S. markets closed on Monday.

The list includes video surveillance firm Hikvision, along with SenseTime, one of the world's most valuable AI unicorns - privately held startup company valued at over US$1 billion -, valued at around US$4.5 billion and its fellow AI giant Megvii, which is valued at around US$4 billion U.S. dollars.

Entities on the list are barred from doing business with U.S. companies without being granted a U.S. government license. The move follows the same blueprint with the blacklist of China's tech giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

China strongly urged the U.S. to remove sanctions on Chinese firms and will take any necessary measures to firmly protect its own interests, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.

The move ratcheted up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. According to the new International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, the trade-war could cost an increasingly fragile global economy about US$700 billion, or 0.8 percent of GDP, by 2020.

China’s official also demanded the U.S. to stop making irresponsible remarks on the northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region issue and to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.

The move was made as both nations launched the 13th round of talks Monday aimed at resolving the two nations’ trade war.

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