China and the U.S. are both going for trade's nuclear option

Laura Christensen
July 21, 2017

Wednesday's talks are similar to high-level economic discussions launched in 2006 under President George W. Bush and continued under President Barack Obama.

China's maturing economy needs to further open markets to American investors and exporters so they can compete on equal footing, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

Wang said China now has 300 million people in the middle-income group and their demand for quality USA goods and services is swelling by the day.

Following Trump's first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April, both sides agreed to advance US-China economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan under the framework of the US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang told the luncheon that Beijing has its own concerns to be addressed in the talks, including "outdated" U.S. export controls for high-technology products.

China's delegation leader, Vice Premier Wang Yang, left the Treasury building without speaking to reporters.

To address that imbalance, China has urged the U.S.to remove the regulations on controls for export and to increase exports of products that are high-tech into China, said the official news agency Xinhua citing a Chinese official.

"If this were just the natural product of free market forces, we could understand it, but it's not", Ross said in the opening ceremony of the one-day meeting between senior officials from the world's top two economies.

"So it is time to rebalance our trade and investment relationship in a more fair, equitable and reciprocal manner".

The CED is seen as a new forum to smooth tensions following Trump's rhetoric on the campaign trail about getting tough on China's trading practices. The intensified deliberations are part of the "Comprehensive Economic Dialogue" between Trump's team and their Chinese counterparts in Washington, which began this week.

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China and the United States discussed a one-year action plan of economic cooperation during the first China-U.S.

The Trump administration responded by invoking a little-used weapon in American trade law that lets the president tax or restrict imports if a U.S. Commerce Department investigation finds that they imperil national security.

Ross said China accounts for half of the United States goods trade deficit and Mnuchin said Beijing must address "the imbalances caused by the Chinese intervention in its economy". "We should pursue these areas of common interest", he said.

China has made its stance clear in terms of addressing the trade imbalance with the United States, said Zhu.

But China experts were skeptical the talks would make headway in the near term, and cautioned the United States goals may be over-ambitious.

"Good cooperation between China and the U.S., the world's two largest economies, will not only benefit the businesses and people of the two countries, but the entire world", he said.

Cake and conversation, it seems, can go only so far to mend longstanding economic rifts between the United States and China.

"A more balanced economic relationship will create prosperity for our two countries".

In the words of Mr Wang at the start of the talks on Wednesday: "Dialogue can not immediately address all differences, but confrontation will immediately damage the interests of both".

Other reports by My Hot News

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