For the future of US-China trade negotiations, the Trump administration is now somewhat pessimistic.
On July 18th, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. When Mnuchin responded earlier to whether the call would lead to a two-way talk, he said very carefully: “Maybe. It is not convenient to guess the result.”
On July 10, the responsible persons of the two countries have already called once. After two calls, whether the two sides can sit together for an interview is still unknown.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on July 17 that the US-China trade negotiations are not “not a 10-minute process” and the process will be lengthy and complicated.
US President Donald Trump predicted on July 16 that the United States has a long way to go to reach an economic and trade agreement with China.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the US government is still waiting for Beijing to respond to goodwill gestures such as the White House’s relaxation of restrictions on Huawei and the suspension of any new tariff actions.
This is a moment. You know, Trump has repeatedly mentioned that the United States will reach a great historic agreement with China. For example, before the special seminar in December 2018, he said on Twitter: “China hopes to reach a very comprehensive major agreement. The situation is possible, and it can be quite fast!”
Before the special seminar in June 2019, he emphasized that “the probability of reaching an agreement between China and the United States is high.” Mnuchin also publicly stated before the special seminar of the same month: “The United States and China have already completed 90% of the negotiations before, and they are optimistic that China and the United States may reach an agreement before the end of the year.”
Even if the trade war stagnate, Trump firmly believes that China is more eager to reach an agreement.
Now, the Trump administration is not sure, and behind the conservative forecast is that it is abandoning fantasy.
The United States has seen the reality. In May, China proposed amendments to the content of China-US negotiations. The document has more than 100 pages, almost all of which require the details of China-US negotiations to be reinstated. The Trump administration means that the United States and China will return to the content that was discussed before.
If the negotiations are restarted in accordance with the wishes of the United States, the possibility is very small. After all, China has put forward so many amendments. If the talks are restarted in accordance with China’s revisions, on the one hand, the United States still needs to go through some ideological struggles. On the other hand, it takes time to finalize the content of China-US negotiations. From December 20, 2018, to the 20th of May, China and the United States spent half a year to complete 90% of the negotiations. Now it seems that everything seems to start from scratch.
Negotiation itself is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. In the previous rounds of negotiations, each of them basically understood their respective demands. On this basis, if China and the United States can reach an agreement again, is it not as Trump said, “Is there still a long way to go?”
After nearly a year and a half of the contest, Trump did not expect China to continue to fight with the United States. The United States levies taxes and China counters. The United States has an “entity list.” China also has a list of “unreliable entities.” The United States is united in the world, and China is also seeking to form a united front in the world.
Trump realized the complexity of the situation. But the bow does not turn back, he can only continue the trade war. This is a protracted war. Trump has also invented the truth.