Tag Archives: U.S.

The World Trade Organization found that China exceeded its agreed-on limits for government subsidies on multiple crops. Politico notes that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the case could indeed become part of the negotiations and hoped-for trade deal with China.

Lighthizer says there’s another WTO challenge in process that targets how China administers its import quotas on multiple agricultural products. Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee last week that they’re trying to resolve those issues with China within the context of a potential agreement. White House Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC that the outlook for a deal with China is “very positive.” That’s a different outlook than the one Lighthizer had during testimony to the Ways and Means Committee in which he said, “there’s still substantial work that needs to be done.”

President Trump did say last week that they’ve made “major progress” in talks with China but also acknowledged the possibility things could still collapse. During a press conference in Vietnam, Trump said, “I’m never afraid to walk away from a deal. I would do that with China, too, if it didn’t work out.” Also, on the trade front, the Trump Administration published its key objectives for a potential agreement with the United Kingdom, the first step in the process of beginning trade negotiations.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday he will extend a deadline to escalate tariffs on Chinese imports, citing “substantial progress” in weekend talks between the two countries.

Trump tweeted that there had been “productive talks” on some of the difficult issues dividing the U.S. and China, adding that “I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1.”

Trump said that if negotiations progress, he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort to finalize an agreement.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators met through the weekend as they seek to resolve a trade war that’s rattled financial markets.

Trump had warned he would escalate the tariffs he has imposed on $200 billion in Chinese imports, from 10 to 25 percent, if the two sides failed to reach a deal. The increase was scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. EST on March 2.

The reprieve is likely to be greeted with relief by financial markets.

The world’s two biggest economies have been locked in a conflict over U.S. allegations that China steals technology and forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets in an aggressive push to challenge American technological dominance.

The two counties have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods. The conflict has unnerved investors and clouded the outlook for the global economy, putting pressure on Trump and Xi to reach a deal.

“Trump clearly wants a deal and so do the Chinese, which certainly raises the probability that the two sides will come to some sort of negotiated agreement, even if it is a partial one, in the coming weeks,” said Cornell University economist Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division.

On Twitter, Trump said the two sides had made headway on issues including protection of trade secrets, forced technology transfer and U.S. agricultural sales to China. But the administration did not immediately provide details.

Business groups and lawmakers in Congress want to see a comprehensive deal that forces the Chinese to change their behavior and that can be enforced. The U.S. has accused China of failing to meet past commitments to reform its economic policies.

“Encouraging news from @POTUS that progress is being made in a trade deal with China. Hopefully this leads to an agreement that stops China’s theft of US intellectual property and avoids a full blown trade war,” tweeted Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

But critics worry that the president has given up leverage. “They now have lost the advantage of a deadline,” said Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a White House economist under President George W. Bush, adding that “I see the odds tilting” in China’s favor.

The American Soybean Association says trade talks are good, soybean purchases are good, but lifting the tariff that China slapped on U.S. soybean imports would be better.

The ASA says it’s the only way U.S. soybean producers can regain commercial access to China, their most significant overseas market. “It’s encouraging that the administration is keeping soybeans in their trade conversations with China,” says Davie Stephens, ASA President. “The Chinese Vice Premiere’s commitment to buy another five million tons of soybeans is encouraging, but it’s not the answer. We need an agreement at the end of the 90-day period that specifically rescinds the tariff that China has imposed on U.S. soybean imports.”

The ASA president says the “good-faith” purchase commitment is a positive sign that both countries are working towards the real progress that soybean producers are looking for. However, the purchases don’t offset the damage done to the soybean industry since tariffs were imposed. It also doesn’t repair the long-term damage the tariffs have done to a relationship that was decades in the making. ASA is joining other organizations in asking congressional members to help strengthen their message to the Administration that rescinding the tariffs are vital to the health of the farm economy.

Preliminary trade discussions between Washington and Brussels aren’t going well. In fact, Politico says the talks now appear to basically be an effort to not jump into a full-on trade war.

That possibilities potentially include new U.S. tariffs being slapped on automobiles. The two sides can’t even seem to agree on how the negotiations should proceed. The U.S. wants greater access to Europe’s agricultural markets. However, EU officials say that topic is a deal-breaker. They fear potential backlash from the EU’s politically powerful bloc of farmers. Brussels wants to get rid of tariffs on the industrial goods it ships to the U.S., including cars. However, President Trump is determined to protect American manufacturing. Politico says the stalemate over agricultural negotiations appears to be dimming hopes for a comprehensive transatlantic trade deal even before official negotiations get going.

To keep the U.S. president at the negotiating table, the EU has agreed to boost U.S. soy imports by allowing the use of crops subsidized for biofuel production. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross originally had a deadline of February 19th to make recommendations to the president regarding possible duties on auto imports. However, the government shutdown may have delayed that. Once the recommendations are made, Trump will have 90 days to make a decision The EU Parliament’s Trade Committee vote this month on whether or not to formally oppose the U.S.-EU negotiations.