Executive Intelligence Review


U.S.-China Trade Talks Progressed as Tough Issues Were Addressed

Jan. 10, 2019 (EIRNS)—Following perhaps the most comprehensive Jan. 7-9 trade negotiations held at Beijing between the United States and China, optimism has been expressed by both sides. Today Asia Times reported that there has been some indication of Chinese moves to address concerns regarding forced technology transfer, including recently proposed legislation that would bar local governments from forcing foreign firms to transfer technology or illegally restricting market access. On the meeting, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office released a statement Jan. 9 that

“the talks also focused on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States.”

The USTR statement referred to the Trump-Xi Dec. 1 meeting in Buenos Aires where a decision was made to engage in 90 days of negotiations with a view to achieving needed structural changes in China with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft of trade secrets for commercial purposes, services, and agriculture.

A positive note has also emanated from Beijing where Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng told a press briefing, “The Chinese side also believes that the implementation mechanism is important.” On Jan. 9 Reuters reported China’s Commerce Ministry calling the trade talks “extensive, deep and thorough,” and saying they provided a “foundation for the resolution of each other’s concerns.”

What is evident is that while some difficult issues have not been resolved, both sides have shown readiness to address those.

People’s Daily, in an unsigned report on the meeting, said its reading that the trade talks meant progress is based upon three indicators:

“The first noticeable detail is that the two-day vice-ministerial-level trade talks were extended by half a day. ...The second detail worth noting is that Chinese Vice Premier, Liu He, unexpectedly appeared at the venue. ...The third detail which shows progress is that the negotiations were candid, in-depth and practical.”