When the first-stage trade agreement between China and the United States is reached, when and where it is signed, it is already the most concerned topic in the relations between the two countries and the global market.
Earlier, China and the United States held high-level economic and trade consultations in Washington, DC in October. Both countries said that they have reached a consensus on the first-phase agreement, and both sides have released favorable signals for economic and trade. China has renewed its commitment to purchasing US agricultural products.
However, the current situation is that Trump’s “first-phase agreement signed at the APEC summit held in Chile at the first US dollar” after the last round of negotiations is no longer possible. The signing time of this preliminary agreement has obviously been delayed. After that, it may even be dragged to next year. This is obviously not the simple cancellation of the APEC summit. What happened between China and the United States?
China-US negotiations are getting stuck in the bottleneck?
After the China-US negotiations in October, Liu He, the vice premier of the State Council and the leader of the China-US economic and trade consultations, conducted two rounds with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The official calls are November 1st and November 16th.
Through the Chinese official description of the two calls, the second call, including China’s Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan or the People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang, is no longer listed in the list of participants, and the call results are not mentioned. The word “progress”.
Since then, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said at a regular press conference that the China-US economic and trade team will continue to maintain close communication. In addition, the Ministry of Commerce did not give more information.
According to the US media Bloomberg News, Liu He said at an event on November 20 that he still felt “cautiously optimistic” about the China-US agreement, but he was “confident” about the US request. If the report is true, Liu He is still planning to invite the US negotiating team to visit China. This shows that the two countries still need face-to-face consultations.
At the same time, US officials tend to be cautious about trade agreements. US President Donald Trump visited Apple Inc.’s factory on November 20, during which he said he was not ready to sign a trade agreement because “China has not stepped up in the negotiations.” The degree confirms the possibility of a new bottleneck in China-US negotiations.
On November 19th, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview that the US-China trade negotiations are currently in a fine-tuning stage, and the two sides need the “details” most.
The US attitude is unclear as to whether the suspension of tariffs on Chinese consumer goods valued at approximately US$156 billion will be imposed on December 15.
Earlier, Mnuchin, Ross, Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the first phase of the China-US agreement may be signed in November. After the last round of negotiations, Mnuchin said that the two countries generally need Negotiations took place in five weeks, and now it has been six weeks since China and the United States announced a consensus. The process has obviously been delayed.
The crux is the tariff
Judging from the China-US official attitude toward the consultations, the signing of the agreement between China and the United States is not as smooth as it was supposed to be. The reason behind this is not who is “repenting”, but also the conflict between China and the United States on the Hong Kong issue, but the negotiation game. continue.
In terms of specific content, the crux of the China-US negotiations is obviously to recover the tariffs already imposed. On November 14, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that the cancellation of tariffs is an important condition for the agreement between China and the United States.
Since then, the US media has continuously exposed the information disclosed by the White House sources that the Trang popularization US team believes that if the tariffs are abolished, the content of the first phase agreement needs to be expanded, and then the United States has proposed a “new request” to China. All kinds of arguments. In short, Trump hopes that China will make more concessions before canceling the tariffs already imposed.
Regardless of whether this information is true or not, the current negotiations between China and the United States will inevitably revolve around the conditions for the elimination of tariffs. And this behind it means an important shift in the US negotiation mentality.
If the two sides agree to reach a trade agreement in a phased manner, China’s negotiating thinking is dominant. Then, under what conditions, what kind of rhythm, and how much to eliminate tariffs, the United States has to start to face China. A sign of the core appeal in the negotiations.
Since the beginning of the trade war, the United States has once made a “lion opening” to raise multiple demands on China in terms of intellectual property rights, technology transfer, market opening, agricultural product procurement, etc., and used the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Justice to sanction Chinese enterprises as a threat. The United States rarely has a positive response to the bottom line of trade agreements that China has repeatedly emphasized.
Perhaps, for a year and a half in the trade war, the United States has always believed that the most intense pressure can completely change China’s “unfair” trade behavior and has not carefully examined any Chinese demands. Even on the issue of tariffs, there was news last year that the United States had requested to retain the power to impose punitive tariffs on China after the trade agreement, which shows its power of power. And now this situation has completely changed.
Mutual sawing is not necessarily a bad thing
The talks between China and the United States have been repeated, and the reversal of the trade agreement has been repeated many times. This is not the first time that China and the United States have postponed a consensus. However, looking back at the game of multiple rounds in the past, the two sides have actually taken many steps forward.
In May last year, the United States tore up the “no trade war” consensus, and China has since then patiently understood the various demands of the United States in the negotiations and confirmed its own bottom line. Then, in turn, the US side needs to take the time to seriously consider the conditions for China to sign the agreement. From this perspective, this delay is necessary.
China has already proposed that the text of the agreement must be balanced. From the extreme threat of the United States to a text with balanced wording and content, how easy is it to cross this distance? Today, how to eliminate the tariff on the saw, the balance of the agreement and the basis for the continued negotiations between the two sides are of great significance.