Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Beijing, China (4E) – The much ballyhooed trade talks aimed at preventing Washington from imposing additional tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S. will likely fail.
People familiar with the negotiations held for three days in Beijing until Wednesday confirm the two sides are further apart on the issue of Chinese structural reforms Donald Trump is demanding. These reforms are aimed at stopping alleged Chinese theft and forced transfer of U.S. technology.
If no deal is reached by March 2, Trump said he will raise tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at a time when China’s economy is weakening significantly.
Trump, however, refuses to face-up to reality and instead tweeted “Talks with China are going very well!”
The trade talks lasted longer than expected and American officials said details will be released soon, raising hopes an all-out trade war might be avoided. The talks were extended into an unscheduled third day, showing both sides were “serious”, said China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The U.S. team was led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, and included under secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from the White House.
Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen headed the vice ministerial level talks for China. Vice Premier Liu He, a top economic adviser to Xi, made an appearance at a meeting on Monday.
“I think they went just fine,” said Ted McKinney, U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. “It’s been a good one for us.”
Asked if the talks were difficult, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang replied: “I can only say that extending the consultations shows that the two sides were indeed very serious in conducting the consultations.”
This meetings were the first face-to-face talks since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in Trump’s trade war.
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