U.S. and Chinese negotiators plan to discuss the progress of their trade deal in the coming days, with Beijing trying to expand the agenda to include Washington̵7;s latest moves toward businesses including TikTok and WeChat.
A virtual meeting is likely to take place immediately this week, although a date has not been completed, according to people familiar with the preparations for the talks who asked not to be named. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser on Tuesday downplayed concerns that the phase-one deal would be split.
Along with agricultural purchases and the dollar-yuan exchange rate, Chinese officials aim to bring possible Trump bans on transactions with the two applications for national security reasons, people said without elaborating on what China hopes to achieve by doing so. .
Nearly seven months after a White House signing ceremony halted a tariff war that had wreaked havoc on the global economy, Beijing’s promised purchases of American goods are far from out of date. The coronavirus crisis and the deteriorating US-China relationship on everything from technology security to Hong Kong have left trade a rare area of cooperation.
INSIGHT GLOBAL: Addition of China Phase-1 Trade Agreement Import Lady
“One area we are engaging in is trade,” Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, told a news conference at the White House on Tuesday. “Now it’s good.”
At a conference in Beijing on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China’s position in the first phase remains stable. TikTok, he said, “is just a platform to provide entertainment, leisure, talent show and sharing for American people and people around the world. It has nothing to do with national security.”
In the US, Trump’s treatment of China is emerging as a political weapon for Democrats trying to remove it in November. It was three years ago this month that the Trump administration launched an investigation into China’s treatment of US intellectual property that would help spark a trade war that would lead to tariffs of about $ 500 billion on products shipped between most economies. major in the world.
Now, less than three months before Trump’s re-election bid, the pandemic that began in China, his administration is trying to find the balance between showing toughness and catching a deal that is not delivering on Beijing’s promises.
‘It’s about farmers’
Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Bloomberg Television this week that “it’s amazing that despite the storm that is now the US-China relationship, neither Trump nor Xi Jinping really want to leave the stage. -a deal. “
“For Trump, in a word, it’s about farmers – the sales they can make to the red states in this election,” Kennedy said, referring to rural fortresses for Republicans. For Chinese President Xi, “it is about stability and maintaining relations from complete breakdown,” he said.
China is seeking to defame an unpredictable confrontation with the U.S. that has been seen as the target of many of its tech champions, with recent actions prompting a possible sale of US operations of ByteDance Ltd’s short video app in Microsoft Corp. Trump is also blocking US transactions with Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat app, which has more than 1 billion users.
Trump executive orders, due to take effect in September, have the potential to have an even wider impact than the harsh attack on telecommunications equipment provider Huawei Technologies Co., as they threaten to cut off communication links between people in major economies. in the world. The US argues that Chinese applications that collect information on US citizens pose a major national security risk as the data tend to be purchased by the Chinese government.
Given the downturn in the global economy this year linked to the pandemic, for which Trump has repeatedly blamed China, Beijing was only a quarter way through its attempt to buy more than $ 170 billion in US goods this year by end of June.
On Tuesday, Kudlow downplayed the shortfall, saying China had “significantly increased” purchases of US goods.
China would have to buy about $ 130 billion in the second half of this year to meet the original terms of the deal signed in January, which provided for an additional $ 200 billion in US goods and services during 2017 through end of 2021.
(Adds background, analyst comments in paragraphs 7-10)
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