As trade tensions threaten to boil over between the two nations, US President Donald Trump insists his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will scrap barriers to commerce “because it is the right thing to do.”
Washington is seeking to cut a deal with the Chinese government to eradicate a trade deficit and allow US products to enter the market in Asia more freely. The US president has also accused China of intellectual property theft, through practices that require US business to transfer technology information to Chinese companies.
On Sunday, Trump spoke of his close friendship with the Chinese premier but added that trade barriers will come down. “China will take down its trade barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become reciprocal & a deal will be made on intellectual property. Great future for both countries,” he said.
It’s unclear why Trump appears confident of a positive result. However, any deal could see the US withdrawing from plans to hit Chinese imports worth $50 billion with tariffs. China has said it will impose similar trade barriers on products like soybeans, corn products and other agricultural items.
Speaking on Sunday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin admitted that there is a risk of a trade war between the United States and China, but he doesn’t expect one. “Our expectation is that we don’t think there will be a trade war; our objective is to continue to have discussions with China… I don’t expect there will be a trade war – it could be, but I don’t expect it at all,” he told CBS’ Face The Nation.
The United States Trade Representative, an agency responsible for developing US trade and investment policy, has identified 1,300 Chinese products that could be slapped with extra import tax.
“The proposed list of products is based on extensive interagency economic analysis and would target products that benefit from China’s industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the US economy. Sectors subject to the proposed tariffs include industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery,” the USTR said.
The agency added: “After a detailed investigation, USTR found overwhelming evidence that China’s unreasonable actions are harming the US economy. In the light of such evidence, the appropriate response from China should be to change its behavior, as China’s government pledged to do many times.”