U.S.-China trade talks sputtering at 100-day deadline

By Andrew Galbraith and Dominique Patton

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – Bilateral talks aimed at reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China have yielded some initial deals, but U.S. firms say much more needs to be done as a deadline for a 100-day action plan expires on Sunday. 

The negotiations, which began in April, have reopened China’s market to U.S. beef after 14 years and prompted Chinese pledges to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas. American firms have also been given access to some parts of China’s financial services sector.  

More details on the 100-day plan are expected to be announced in the coming week as senior U.S. and Chinese officials gather in Washington for annual bilateral economic talks, rebranded this year as the “U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.”

“We hope to report further progress on the 100-day deliverables next week,” a U.S. Commerce Department spokesman said on Saturday. “That will be the basis for judging the extent of progress.”

The spokesman declined to discuss potential areas for new agreements since a May 11 announcement on beef, chicken, financial services and LNG.

Earlier in April, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time at his Florida resort, Xi agreed to a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting U.S. exports and trimming the U.S. trade deficit with China.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with China reached $347 billion last year. The gap in the first five months of 2017 widened about 5.3 percent from a year earlier, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“It is an excellent momentum builder, but much more needs to be done for U.S.-China commercial negotiations to be considered a success,” said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) in Beijing.

There has been little sign of progress in soothing the biggest trade irritants, such as U.S. demands that China cut excess capacity in steel and aluminum production, lack of access for U.S….

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