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

JM Ashby
Written by JM 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.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    and ensure that the text of the deal is “balanced”

    This, right here. This is the problem with the Trump / conservative mindset with regards to.. well.. pretty much everything.

    They never play for “best outcome” – they only care about “winning.” So what if it’s unstable, untenable, unballanced, or has inevitable negative consequences? They just have. to. win. And who cares what tomorrow may bring? Today is all that counts.

    We liberals understand that if you negotiate a deal that cripples the other party, even if it’s better for you now, there will be externalities down the road. Maybe you destabilize the other country and they become a breeding ground for gangs and/or terrorists? Maybe they do more trade with your enemies? Maybe they refuse to assist you with international embargoes? Who knows? But it’s better to have a friend on the other end of the negotiation, even if that means leaving something on the table and NOT getting everything you want. Even if it means they get a better deal than you could otherwise negotiate.

    Of course Mexico is taking advantage of us! Of course they are! Of course China is and Vietnam is and everyone and their mother is. OF COURSE. And you know what? That’s great. Because it helps their economies, it stabilizes the world, it prevents wars, it makes them depend on us. It makes them LIKE us.
    And a rising tide lifts all boats – ours included. Ours, especially. It means a wealthier, safer, better world, not just for them, but for us as well.

    But Trump and the conservatives don’t see it this way. They’d rather win. They’d rather hog all the table scraps for themselves.. every. last. crumb. Screw everyone else. Every man for himself! And because we have the big swinging… err… and because we are the big kid on the block, we can bully everyone else into accepting our terms. So what if Mexico and China and everyone else falls into a depression? I mean, it’s not like anything bad happened when German had a major depression in the 30’s, right? It’s not like collapsing governments elsewhere ever become problems for us locally, is it? It’s not like we need someone to buy our exports is it? And so what if they hate us? It’s not like hostile foreign governments ever make problems for us. Nope. Nothing bad could possibly happen.

    They’d rather have the whole pie to themselves, even if it means a smaller pie. We’d rather share the pie, even if it means other people get a bit more than they should, because it means a much bigger pie.. and we don’t have to eat it in a post-apocalyptic Mad-Max hellscape where everyone hates our guts.