US, China trade talks deadlock

20 July 2017

The United States and China have wrapped up their comprehensive economic dialogue after contentious trade talks in Washington deadlocked with the two parties failing to reach an agreement.

The two sides did not call the usual joint press briefing or issue a joint statement of their action plan after the meeting. They also did not provide any explanation for the moves, which ruled out any progress at the talks, according to the South China Morning Post.

The US side cancelled its press conference first, the Chinese side followed, the report said. This could cast a shadow over their trade relations amid US threat to impose tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium.

The US delegation released a short statement late on Wednesday: ''China acknowledged our shared objective to reduce the trade deficit, which both sides will work cooperatively to achieve.

''The principles of balance, fairness, and reciprocity on matters of trade will continue to guide the American position so we can give American workers and businesses an opportunity to compete on a level playing field,'' the statement said.

In his opening remarks to the annual US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross criticised China's $347bn (266bn) trade surplus, saying it was not the product of market forces.

US demanded "more fair" trade arrangements.

"China acknowledged our shared objective to reduce the trade deficit which both sides will work cooperatively to achieve," a brief US statement said.

The US blames China for dumping its excess steel capacity in the US and other countries, creating a global steel glut that is hurting US producers.

However, the two sides avoided issuing any statements on the contentious issue of steel tariffs at the talks.

US Steel stocks were sharply higher as investors interpreted silence on the issue as an increased likelihood of US action on Chinese steel.

Separately, after the markets closed, US President Donald Trump also indicated that tariffs on Chinese steel were still a possibility.

It is also unclear whether the US did push Beijing on its subsidies for state-owned enterprises. US also wanted China to put more pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programme. Further, China had agreed to lift its ban on US beef imports and accept US shipments of liquefied natural gas.

In May, the US and China reached a trade deal that opens China's market to US credit rating agencies and credit card companies.

President Trump has previously signalled that China might obtain improved trade terms in exchange for help on North Korea.

China, on the other hand, was expected to focus on US refusal to sell Beijing advanced technology products.

 search domain-b