Reports: U.S. and China Trade Talks Near Breakthrough, But Depend on U.S. Dropping Tariffs
Following another round of talks between the U.S. and China in Washington, Chinese officials say that it hopes both sides can work together for a solution, but that a resolution would depend on the U.S. canceling tariffs.
"China's position, principle and goal for the China-U.S. trade negotiations has never changed," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said, according to CNBC. "Both sides' ultimate goal for the negotiations is to end the trade war, cancel all additional tariffs. This is good for China, good for the U.S. and good for the world."
After talks ended last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that tariffs scheduled to take effect this Tuesday would be suspended, and the president said that both parties have a "very substantial phase one deal" that would be finalized within three weeks.
China, using somewhat vague language, said it would increase its purchases of U.S. agriculture products (a major sticking point for the president throughout this process) and would do so relative to Chinese market demand.
China did not, however, confirm a projected completion date for phase one of the agreement, or whether the two parties planned to meet again with firm plans.
"We hope both sides can continue to work together to advance the negotiations and, as soon as possible, reach a phased agreement and make new progress on canceling tariffs," Gao said.
Depending on how you look at it, this gives a reason for optimism again. It shows ongoing, seemingly cordial talks, rather than the contentious back-and-forths through state-run media or Twitter. President Trump, however, is not one to concede first, and there very well could still be a stalemate at phase one if the U.S. refuses to cancel tariffs without China acting first.
Basically, both countries are punching each other and telling the other they will stop punching when the other one stops first.
Again, the agreement for more talks in the near future and a plainly spelled out list of conditions for coming to an agreement looks good. It's just whether or not the two can choose solutions over ego. We've been here before, obviously, where a breakthrough looks like it's right around the corner, but one party oversteps or angers the other and there's more retaliation. Rinse, repeat.