China-US trade talks to restart after G20 tariff truce

US and Chinese negotiators meet in Shanghai on Tuesday to resurrecttrade talks between the world’s two biggest economies, with both sides downplaying expectations of an imminent deal, reports BSS. The negotiations in China’s financial hub will be the first face-to-face discussions since negotiations collapsed in May, when US President Donald Trump accused China of reneging on its commitments. Washington and Beijing have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in twoway trade, in a tense stand-off centred on demands for China to curb the alleged theft of American technology and provide a level playing field to US companies. The two days of talks are to be led on the US side by trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The negotiations come as Beijing faces heavy pressure over ongoing civil unrest in Hong Kong, and with lingering ill-feeling between the US and China. Days before the Shanghai meeting, Trump threatened to pull recognition of China’s developing nation status at the World Trade Organization — prompting an irritable reply from Beijing about the “arrogance and selfishness” of the US. Trump said Friday he believed Chinese negotiators were hoping to delay a deal until after the US presidential election next year, adding: “When I win…they’re all going to sign deals.”The US leader has also angered the Chinese side by claiming the slowing economy is forcing them to make a trade deal, and blacklisting telecom giant Huawei over national security concerns. In a commentary on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua admitted relations were “strained” and called for the US to “treat China with due respect if it wants a trade deal”. But the kick-starting of trade negotiations is still being seen as positive —even iflittle of substance is expected — following a truce agreed between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 in June. “Realistically, this round of talks is about clarifying where the two sides stand after a significant lull in engagement,” said Jake Parker, senior vice president at the US-China Business Council. “There also needs to be a focus on rebuilding trust that was present in April but has since dissipated.” – ‘Modest concessions’ – Holding talks in Shanghai is also a nod to a time of betterrelations, as the city was the home ofthe 1972 Shanghai Communique — an important step in building diplomatic relations between the US and China. Vice Premier Liu He will likely lead the talks for China again, with the addition of Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, seen as a tougher negotiator. “Minister Zhong Shan, like Liu He, is a 19th Party Congress Central Committee member, so his involvement would indicate an elevation of participation on the Chinese side,” said Parke.