Ahead of the G-20, Chinese Officials Say Their Position on Trade Hasn’t Changed

Written by SK Ashby

Trump is expected to punt on his decision to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods on the grounds that simply restarting trade talks with China is a victory, but are those talks actually going to lead anywhere?

As far as we know, neither American or Chinese officials have changed their demands or positions and those positions did not lead to an agreement during previous talks.

Chinese officials are making it clear, again, that they still expect things from Trump that he has said he's not willing to do.

In order to reach an agreement the U.S. must remove all extra tariffs, set targets for Chinese purchases of goods in line with real demand and ensure that the text of the deal is “balanced” to ensure the “dignity” of both nations, according to [Vice Premier Liu He] [...]

Separately, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also briefed reporters in Beijing on Thursday.

“The U.S.’s threat to add tariffs cannot scare us,” Geng said. “The Chinese people refuse to be misled and will not be intimidated. So I would like to offer a piece of advice to the U.S. -- starting a trade war and adding tariffs harms itself and others.”

As you may recall, it has been the position of American officials that Trump will not roll back all of his tariffs on Chinese goods and they've even floated the idea of making some of them permanent.

Trump regime officials have implied that the reason some tariffs should remain in place is so they can be used as leverage to ensure that China enforces any regulatory changes they agree to, but refusing to eliminate all of his tariffs may prevent any regulatory changes from being agreed to in the first place. Moreover, refusing to lift all of Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods will give the Chinese reason to leave their retaliatory tariffs on American goods in place.

The G-20 summit will begin tomorrow and at the moment it appears that the current status quo will prevail, but Trump's whimsical nature leaves it an open question.