US Ambassador to China says parties “still very far apart” as trade talks resume

US Ambassador to China says parties “still very far apart” as trade talks resume


Luke Foddy, Communications Manager

Trade talks between China and the US commence in Washington today, with the two parties still “very far apart” on key issues, according to the US Ambassador to Beijing.

The US wants China to provide a timetable on how it will open-up its markets to US exports, Reuters reports, with US Ambassador Terry Branstad expressing frustration at China’s lack of progress in providing access to its insurance and financial sectors, and reducing auto tariffs.

Speaking in Tokyo, Branstad said, “There are many areas where China has promised to [make changes] but haven’t. We want to see a timetable. We want to see these things happen sooner than later.”

He said the US and China were “still very far apart” on these issues going in to the talks.

Negotiations in Beijing earlier this month failed to make a notable breakthrough, meaning the prospect of a trade war remains ever present. According to CBC, ‘economic simulations suggest even the most drastic US moves would result in a 0.8 per cent drop in China’s GDP, from 6.8 to six per cent.’ Chinese analyst Ding Yifan, senior researcher at the National Strategy Institute at Beijing’s Tsinghua Universitya, said China “could bear this kind of loss.”

However, the impact of a trade war would be felt well beyond China, with the global economy guaranteed to suffer as a consequence.

Cause for optimism can be found in President Trump’s unexpected announcement to support Chinese telecoms firm ZTE in overcoming its current trading challenges. According to The New York Times, this reversal indicates a rising influence of moderate voices in the White House, particularly that of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

‘Trump seems ready to make peace,’ The New York Times suggests.

The Chinese Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Liu Xiaoming, will be speaking at Asia House on the prospect of a US-China trade war on 21 May. Details here.