Officials from China and the U.S. met in Washington D.C. this week for the first time since May, in an attempt to revive trade negotiations. The last time officials from both sides met, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came to an agreement to pause tariffs while negotiations were underway, a consensus broken only days later when President Trump announced he would seek to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.
As last week's China This Week noted, this week's talks were led by mid-level officials, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass and Chinese Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen, indicating a lack of optimism towards progress on the trade disputes and a possible desire from the Chinese government to wait for signs of progress before involving higher level officials. Prior to the talks, President Trump told Reuters that he did not expect significant progress and had no timeline for the end of negotiations: "I'm like them; I have a long horizon," he said.
The talks, which lasted two days, ended on Thursday. China's Commerce Ministry said the two sides had held "constructive and frank" discussions and would "maintain contact regarding the next steps." A White House spokesperson said China and the U.S. had "exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance, and reciprocity in the economic relationship, including by addressing structural issues in China." Despite the continuation of talks, China and the U.S. imposed new tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other's imports, which took effect on Wednesday. According the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which released a new state-by-state analysis this week reflecting the new tariffs, "18 [U.S.] states saw the value of their exports subject to tariffs more than double. . .24 states have over $100 million in exports subject to the new tariffs, including Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Michigan."
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.