By Wang Cong | Global Times Published | 2019/7/18 21:53:40

 

Trade negotiations between China and the US may have encountered some huge obstacles for moving forward, as the two countries appear far apart on issues ranging from Huawei to the text of a potential trade agreement and officials on both sides continue to trade tough rhetoric, according to some observers on Thursday.

 

The reason behind the stalled talks, which were resumed after leaders of the two countries reached a truce last month, is the lack of sincerity on the part of the US, which officials and analysts in China said has not taken concrete measures to meet China halfway and continued its bullying tactics.

 

Chinese and US officials have talked over the phone but have not held or planned any face-to-face meetings since Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump agreed to restart talks during a meeting in Japan at the end of June.

 

"It appears that the talks have indeed encountered some huge difficulties," said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics.

 

Comments from officials on both sides suggest that the two sides remain far away from a trade deal. Trump on Tuesday put it more bluntly, saying that there is a "long way to go" to reach an agreement. Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Trump threatened to impose additional tariffs on $325 billion worth of Chinese goods "if we want."

 

In Beijing, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry pushed back on Wednesday, warning that if the US imposes new tariffs, "there will be an even longer way to go before reaching a deal."

 

Geng noted that Trump had agreed to allow US companies to continue supplying Huawei in the meeting in Japan and asked "how and when will the US act on its commitment? It concerns the country's reputation and credibility. And the world is watching."

 

In the meeting with Xi, Trump also agreed to hold off on additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

 

Lack of sincerity

 

"The US side has basically resorted to its bullying tactics and shows no sincerity whatsoever in the trade talks," said Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute of the Chinese Commerce Ministry. Bai noted that under such circumstances, "the US did not create good atmosphere or room for the two sides to discuss" the matter.

 

Unlike in previous talks, Chinese officials have grown more cautious and skeptical of the US' real intentions and sincerity in the trade talks. Given this skepticism, Chinese officials, although ready to engage in talks with US officials, have been preparing for a protracted fight rather than hoping for a quick solution.

 

In an interview with the People's Daily published on Thursday, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, who has recently joined the Chinese negotiating team, listed "dealing" with the US trade war as a top priority.

 

Blaming the US for igniting the trade war, Zhong said that "we will promote the fighting spirit to resolutely safeguard out national interests and the multilateral trading system."

 

China's lowering of expectations for any trade deal is also sparked by the often contradictory views among US politicians toward China, with some pushing to end the costly trade war, and others urging Washington to stay tough on China, Sang said.

 

"Maybe it is better to reach a deal when the US has formed a consensus," he said, as rising pressure from business groups and growing ominous signs for the US economy might force US officials to change course.

 

Contrary to what Trump has been suggesting - that China is more eager to reach a deal because of its economic slowdown - Chinese officials are more confident that China's growth will be stable and that it is the US that might face rising pressure, analysts said.

 

Apart from predictions that the US could fall into recession later this year or early next year, profits for some of the largest corporations are forecast to see sharp declines, in part due to trade tensions.

 

Source: Article by Wang Cong via globaltimes.com.