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Vice Premier Liu He To Head China Negotiators in China-U.S. Trade Talks Set for Washington, May 9-10

May 7, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Commerce Department of China confirmed today that Vice Premier Liu He will lead their delegation to Washington, D.C. tomorrow, for the 11th round of China-U.S. trade talks, which will take place May 9-10. These plans are occurring in a tense environment, in which yesterday, reporters gathered at the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office for remarks by USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who stressed the differences between Chinese and U.S. positions on the trade accord being attempted. This media event followed on President Trump’s May 6 Twitter postings threatening to raise and expand tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S., possibly to be announced May 9. Also present at yesterday’s briefing, were the two other top economic figures in the Trump Administration, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and Trade Adviser Peter Navarro.

Lighthizer’s main point, as reported by most major media, was that China is not sticking with what the U.S. expects. He said, as reported in the Washington Post,

“Over the course of the last week or so, we have seen an erosion in commitments by China. I would say, retreating from specific commitments that had already been made. That, in our view, is unacceptable.”

He called China’s changed positions “substantial,” saying, “Really, I would use the word ‘reneging’ on prior commitments.”

Besides extensive speculative commentary on the U.S.-China situation by trade groups, media, and analysts, there has also been a ratcheting up of expressions of extreme anti-China views, and a chorus of voices, especially including Democrats, cheering Trump on for being tough with China.

For example, today’s New York Times carries an ugly opinion column attacking Chinese President Xi Jinping for being “aggressively hard-line” and mis-judging the U.S. situation, by the former chief editor of the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Yi-Zheng Lian. Headlined, “Xi Jinping Wanted Global Dominance. He Overshot,” the op-ed states that Xi did aggressive things in recent years which “set off alarms among some Americans,” and both moderate and hawkish Americans alike now oppose China. “Mr. Xi, apparently oblivious to this sea change, was caught unprepared when Mr. Trump hit China with a tariff war.” So he concludes, “Like Mao with the Soviets, Mr. Xi may have challenged the global leadership of the United States too hard and too soon.”

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