Chinese Officials Bring New Demands to Trade Talks

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trade talks between Chinese and American officials will resume in Washington today and, according to Bloomberg, the Chinese delegation is bringing a new demand to the table.

The Trump regime has added an increasing number of Chinese companies to the Commerce Departments's so-called blacklist; preventing American firms from doing business with them, and Chinese officials will ask Trump to remove China's largest shipping company from the list.

Officials plan to raise the issue of penalties against the Dalian units of China COSCO Shipping Corp., which the U.S. accuses of knowingly violating restrictions on carrying Iranian petroleum, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. [...]

The U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Chinese shipowners including COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co. prompted a bidding war as charterers scrambled to replace vessels owned by targeted companies. It sent costs for ships with oil-carry capacities ranging from 650,000 to 2 million barrels to a 2019-high, while supertanker day rates for the Middle East to China route surged to its highest in probably 11 years.

It's remarkable how many issues this ties together and really highlights the interconnected complexity of the global economy. Also -- how much Trump is breaking shit without considering all of the implications and consequences.

The barriers to signing a real, substantive trade deal with China were already very high before the Trump White House piled more obstacles on top of them like imposing sanctions on Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei.

In this case, Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration and reimpose sanctions on Iran is now connected to his trade war with China and could actually prevent progress in trade talks.

Bloomberg's report does not make it clear if the Chinese delegation considers this a make-or-break request, but it demonstrates how the Trump regime is making matters even more complicated as time passes. Core issues that couldn't be resolved a year ago are increasingly buried under a mound of compounding problems mostly stemming from Trump's campaign of applying maximum pressure.

I don't know what's going to happen during trade talks taking place today and tomorrow, but I believe the best case scenario we can hope for is that Trump delays his next round of tariffs scheduled for December in exchange for some politically-pleasing pittance from China.

Even if Trump does delay his next around of tariffs on Chinese goods, his first wave of tariffs on European goods will hit the books next week.

  • muselet

    This is China making counter-demands of Donald Trump. It’s polite and diplomatic—“plan to raise the issue” isn’t exactly pounding on the table and screaming—but the intent is crystal clear. Alas, I doubt anyone in the administration will get the message.

    Trump has been doing to the world economy a much–higher-stakes equivalent of tugging at threads in an intricately-woven piece of cloth: pull on enough threads, or pull on the wrong one, and the whole thing unravels.

    Trump has never had to worry about consequences his whole life, so it makes sense he wouldn’t bother with them now. I am mildly surprised that the Free Markets! crowd hasn’t kicked up a fuss about the mess he’s making, but I guess getting a passel of Federalist Society-approved judges confirmed is worth the price of a long and deep global recession (besides, they seem to squawk only when a D is president).