China US relations

For China-US trade negotiations, the most important issue for all parties is whether the first phase of the China-US agreement can be signed and whether it can be signed before December 15. What is the crux of the differences between China and the US?

Earlier on October 11, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House. Four or five weeks. You know, we will meet in Chile, maybe by then, or around that time. “Trump also said that after the first phase was signed,” the second phase will almost start immediately.”

But now, the problem is not that the APEC Leadership Summit originally scheduled to be held in Chile from November 16th to 17th was cancelled, but that seven weeks have passed. consensus.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on December 2 whether the US government retains tariffs on China depends on “(Beijing) current and future behavior.” Ross said that if the United States and China fail to reach a trade agreement, the United States will increase tariffs on Chinese goods. “December 15 is a reasonable deadline,” “If nothing happens between now and then, the President has made it clear that he will impose tariffs.”

In the eyes of observers, the sincerity of China and the United States to sign the first phase of the agreement is unquestionable. Trump needs stable China-US relations to stabilize the elections in the agricultural state. Judging from Trump ’s sway on Hong Kong and other issues, Trump personally has no ideological considerations, and he is not interested in standing in a high ground of democracy and moral accountability for China. The topic of geopolitical competition between China and the United States is Trump’s tool. It is good for elections, and he does not use it against himself. It is useful for China’s tough card, but more importantly, elections. This overriding politics task.

Under the downward pressure of the economy, the tariffs imposed by China, the United States and Canada have begun to affect exports and consumption. Stopping the trade war has very important practical significance. From a larger perspective, Beijing also hopes to have good news on trade negotiations in order to stabilize the expectations of the parties on China-US relations.

The author is not optimistic about the signing of the agreement between China and the United States before December 15, although US Secretary of Commerce Rose said that “December 15 is a reasonable deadline.” But this is more of a means of pressure than a real deadline for signing an agreement. The United States has released signals that the first phase of the agreement can be signed by the trade representatives of the two sides. If there is enough consensus between China and the United States, Xi Te can show flexibility to sign the agreement and is not tied to a specific point in time.

Regarding the differences between China and the United States, there are currently two main opinions in the mainstream public opinion. One is the differences in tariffs. China advocates the elimination of tariffs in stages and other rates. Confirmation; the second is the difference in procurement quota. The United States requires specific figures to be reflected. China is unwilling to make a commitment on specific procurement quotas.

During his visit to the United States in May, Liu He publicly raised China’s three core concerns. The first is to eliminate all tariff increases. Tariffs are the starting point of trade disputes between the two parties. If an agreement is to be reached, the additional tariffs must be cancelled. Second, the number of trade purchases must be consistent with reality. The third is to improve the balance of the text. Any country has its own dignity. The text of the agreement must be balanced. At present, there are still some key issues that need to be discussed.

On the issue of tariffs, the concession that China can take is to agree to cancel tariffs at an annual rate in stages, but whether the United States can agree to cancel tariffs at an annual rate in stages is still unknown. In terms of the amount of purchase, I believe this is not a threshold that cannot be achieved and exceeded, it is just an issue that can be discussed.

On the issue of tariffs, the concession that China can take is to agree to cancel tariffs at an annual rate in stages, but whether the United States can agree to cancel tariffs at an annual rate in stages is still unknown. In terms of the amount of purchase, I believe this is not a threshold that cannot be achieved and exceeded, it is just an issue that can be discussed.

Another core disagreement is actually the attitude of the United States in signing the first-phase agreement. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with eminent Americans attending the Bloomberg New Economy Forum 2019 in Beijing, China on November 22, and expressed his views on the negotiation of the first phase of the China-US trade agreement for the first time.

Xi Jinping emphasized that “China hopes to advance the first-phase trade agreement with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and equality.”

In response, Trump responded on November 22 that he did not like Xi Jinping’s term “equality”, and believed that the forthcoming trade agreement “cannot be equal”. Trump emphasized that he said to Xi Jinping that this cannot be a An equal agreement, because the starting point for the United States is the floor, and the starting point for China is the ceiling. “We must have a better agreement.”

All along, the United States hopes to package the China-US trade agreement as “the United States has won, and China has lost.” In the first phase of the agreement, the United States’ appeal remains the same. However, the election is imminent, Trump has public demands, and Beijing has its own public opinions. Today, with the growing Chinese self-esteem and self-confidence, the Beijing authorities will never accept a failed agreement.

So far, China’s three core concerns have not been fully realized in the first phase of the agreement. The first-phase agreement between China and the United States is not a mere economic and trade agreement. Any minor political game and considerations in it are enough to facilitate the signing of the agreement and to destroy it. The so-called difference is a thousand miles.

 

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