Foreign Trade

U.S. Tariff Threat Could Scuttle Planned Trade Talks With China

from The Wall Street Journal,

Surprise White House declaration endangers scheduled weekend negotiations, emboldens Chinese hard-liners.

The White House’s renewed trade offensive against China is putting this weekend’s planned settlement talks at risk, as well as fueling nationalistic calls for China to take a tougher stance against U.S. demands. A U.S. advance team landed in Beijing Wednesday to prepare for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s arrival Saturday, according to people with knowledge of the matter from both governments. But they say the surprise U.S. decision a day earlier to move forward with tariffs against China—less than two weeks after both sides declared a truce—is casting doubt over whether those talks can advance to the next level. “This risks disrupting the negotiations,” one of the people said. If the two sides’ teams fail to agree on the issues to be discussed, Mr. Ross’s trip could be canceled, according to the people. If they succeed, however, the high-level talks would proceed as planned, they said.

For its part, China is looking to line up other countries, especially in Europe and Asia, against the U.S., Chinese officials say.

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