Trade talks end with a whimper. Sides promise to talk more

Domestic News

After the 12th round of trade talks since the tariff war began 391 days ago, the American and Chinese teams have agreed…to keep talking. Reuters reports:

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left China with little in hand save a pledge to keep talking, following a half-day meeting and a working dinner at Shanghai’s historic Fairmont Peace Hotel.

White House statement added:

The two sides discussed topics such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture. The Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports. The meetings were constructive, and we expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington, D.C., in early September.

“Both sides appear to be settling in for a lengthy economic conflict,” the New York Times says. “Beijing, while wanting to appear willing to negotiate, thinks it can extract better terms by not hurrying into concessions, according to Chinese experts and others briefed on the talks,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Other reports related to the ongoing techno-trade tumult:

“While an export report this week gives some indication China is coming back into the market, a longer term data view shows purchases of U.S. soybeans have languished,” according to Bloomberg. The outlet’s columnist David Fickling warns, “Beijing has already started sourcing agricultural products from other countries. Temporary measures like this can end up sticking.”

“With or without retaliatory tariffs, Chinese companies will probably show little interest in buying U.S. corn because the jump in Chicago benchmark futures since May has wiped out the price advantage over domestic supplies, according to Yigu Info Consulting Ltd,” per Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance.