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U.S. Negotiators React to China’s White Paper on Trade War

June 4, 2019 (EIRNS)—Responding to the release of the White Paper “China’s Position on the China-U.S. Economic and Trade Consultations,” by China’s State Council, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Treasury issued a joint statement on June 3 declaring America’s “disappointment.” They said that the White Paper showed that China chose “to pursue a blame game misrepresenting the nature and history of trade negotiations between the two countries.”

The statement continued:

“President Trump is committed to taking action to address the unfair trade practices that China has engaged in for decades, which have contributed to persistent and unsustainable trade deficits, almost $420 billion last year, and have caused severe harm to American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”

The USTR emphasized that “insistence on detailed and enforceable commitments from the Chinese in no way constitutes a threat to Chinese sovereignty.”

The Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post runs an analysis, “Why Beijing Isn’t Playing Blame Game with Its White Paper on Trade War,” citing experts asserting that the White Paper was part of China’s bid for a return to the negotiations, not an effort to assign blame on why they failed before. Chinese analysts who spoke with SCMP before the U.S. response was released, told the daily that Beijing was not pointing fingers, it was telling the U.S. it would not “give ground on matters of principle,” but that it was willing to commit to “credible suggestions.”

Ding Shuang, chief China economist at Standard Chartered Bank said, “While China recognizes the difficulty with bilateral relations even with a trade deal reached, it is still willing to do whatever is possible to delay a potential conflict between the two countries.”

In a June 2 article, SCMP’s headline gives its assessment: “China Says U.S. ‘Solely To Blame’ for Collapse of Trade Talks, But Door Remains Open for Negotiation.”

Mei Xinyun, a research fellow affiliated with the Commerce Ministry, said China wanted to break the ice with the U.S. before the June 28-29 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The White Paper could help restart the trade talks by making Beijing’s policy clear and reducing chances of miscalculation. Mei said it is hoped that President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump would agree to some kind of deal “just like the ceasefire they announced in Buenos Aires last year” at the December G20—after which SCMP inserts, “if the leaders meet.”

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