After Trump’s tweeted tariff threat that upset trade talk expectations on Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that China had been “retreating from specific commitments that had already been made,” by way of explanation.
Reuters today published an account, sourced from “three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks,” which confirms that China went through the whole draft trade agreement and systematically edited items that had already been agreed upon:
The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies…
In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation…
Sources told Reuters the extent of the setbacks in the revised text were serious and that Trump’s response was not merely a negotiating strategy.
Chinese lead negotiator Liú Hè 刘鹤 is now set to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Thursday just before tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods rise from 10 percent to 25 percent at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. China has promised “necessary countermeasures” when those tariffs take effect.
Other trade-war-related links for today:
- Practical impacts on business in China
The US-China cold war starts now: what you must do to prepare / China Law Blog
“Make no mistake about it, President Trump is doing whatever he can to convince American companies — really any company from anywhere in the world that sells its products to the United States — to stop doing business with China…what is happening with China right now is extraordinary and it will no doubt lead to tough times for many companies, especially those that have been heretofore unprepared.”
Related: US-China trade war is a gift that keeps on giving for Vietnam / SCMP
- The cross-border links that remain
Venture capital flows between China and the US surpass direct investment for the first time / CNBC
“Venture capital flows between the U.S. and China hit an estimated $22 billion last year, topping the year's $18 billion in completed two-way foreign direct investment for the first time.”
Nasdaq: The pipeline for Chinese companies listing in the US is 'stronger than it's ever been' / CNBC