Executive Intelligence Review


U.S.-China Trade Talks Extended in Hopes of Reaching an Agreement

Jan. 8, 2019 (EIRNS)—Chinese and U.S. officials meeting in Beijing on a trade agreement extended those talks for another day, after the talks on Tuesday, Jan. 8, ran until midnight.

Both sides indicated progress was being made. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC yesterday that there is “a very good chance” of a settlement; this morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that “Talks with China are going very well!” An unnamed source from the Chinese side told the Wall Street Journal that the talks have been “constructive”; China’s Global Times, while calling the talks “tough,” wrote that the extension suggests officials from both sides are committed to reaching an agreement.

Ross on Monday, like the Wall Street Journal today, named as a sticking point U.S. concerns about enforcement mechanisms for Chinese making good on their pledges. Global Times suggested that an agreement on some areas might be reached on this round (such as China purchasing U.S. agriculture and energy products), leaving “thorny issues such as economic policy changes” to later higher-level talks.

An editorial earlier today in Global Times reiterated the Chinese government’s determination to work with the U.S. to avoid confrontation, despite obstacles thrown up by geopolitical factions—such as “a U.S. warship touring in Chinese waters.... No matter how hard, the only choice for both countries is to explore peaceful coexistence while avoiding mutual strategic exhaustion. A win-win result for China and the U.S. seems to deviate from the orthodoxy of games between major powers, but the zero-sum game is even tougher to play,” the editorial wrote.

“Will the U.S. lose the game? The U.S. is still the world’s greatest power with unapproachable scientific and military strengths. Its huge global alliance system is also nearly impossible for China to catch up on. China cannot overthrow the U.S. simply with strength. Will China lose? China has the world’s most complete industrial system and potential far greater than that of the U.S. to be a mega market. China is also a nuclear power.

“China has been keeping a low profile facing China-U.S. disputes, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted that Beijing is incapable of counterstriking fiercely.... Beijing and Washington have to explore a new path. The process will be very sensitive. It may even run into short-term and regional excitement. However, both sides do not want to strategically collide with each other, so they must know when to stop before going too far.”