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


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