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Trade war, day 70: ‘No pressure to make a deal with China’

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Yesterday, news broke that the U.S., led by Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department, was reaching out to China to arrange a last-minute round of trade negotiations before the next $200 billion in tariffs is imposed. The Wall Street Journal last week suggested (paywall) that those tariffs could be imposed about three weeks after the September 6 close of public comments, meaning end of September or early October.

  • China has not formally agreed to more negotiations, but welcomed the invitation.
  • “Gao Feng, a spokesman with China’s Ministry of Commerce, told a regular press conference that Beijing had received the invitation and the two sides were discussing details,” the SCMP reports.
  • “An escalating trade war is not beneficial to either of the two nations,” Gao added.
  • Trump doesn’t see any urgency to ending trade tensions, insisting on Twitter: “we are under no pressure to make a deal with China,” adding, “if we meet, we meet?”
  • The other things Trump said in his tweet: He continued to push a false narrative that China’s “markets…are collapsing,” and signalled again that he sees little downside to tariffs: “We will soon be taking in Billions in Tariffs & making products at home.”
  • American companies in China disagree; almost two-thirds of them say they are seeing a negative impact from tariffs, and half of them reported increased non-tariff barriers — “qualitative measures” — in China. Additionally, only 6 percent say they would consider moving factories back to the U.S.
  • That’s according to a survey of over 430 companies by AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai.
  • European businesses are also pessimistic: the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China surveyed 193 companies, and found that “total of 17 per cent of respondents reported that they were delaying further investment and/or expansion,” even when their products may not be directly hit by tariffs.

More trade war reporting and links:


Previously in SupChina’s trade war coverage:

Trade war, day 69: More talks proposed, but no signs of structural change

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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.