As Trump demands major concessions, Beijing wants the world to think that the US will blink first



Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING – The Chinese government is trying to convince the world that the onus is on the U.S. to resolve trade tensions between the two countries.

As negotiations remain at a standstill, Beijing has yet to confirm whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 meeting in Japan at the end of this month. Trump on Monday threatened more tariffs on Chinese goods if Xi does not attend.

Representatives from the Chinese side said Thursday they think it’s likely that Xi will go to the G-20 meeting.

But in order to reach a trade deal, they emphasize, the U.S. must agree to certain conditions. These include the cancellation of all additional tariffs; following the direction of what was agreed at the G-20 meeting in Argentina last year; and abiding by terms which China considers equal.

“China’s position has been very clear and explicit. It is the U.S. who initiated the trade friction,” said Liang Ming, director of the Institute of International Trade, a research unit under the Ministry of Commerce. He was speaking in Mandarin via an official translator at a press briefing on Thursday.

“Now I think China has greater confidence than the U.S. At the G-20 we could have talks, but the precondition is that the U.S. shows good faith,” Liang said. “If it continues to go backtracking on its own commitments, then we’d rather not have the talks.”

China’s in no hurry

Negotiations between the U.S. and China took a turn for the worse last month. Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from China, and his administration put Chinese telecom giant Huawei on an “entity list” that effectively cuts the company off from its U.S. suppliers.

The view of Chinese academics, Liang said, is that China’s economy can withstand the pressure of prolonged trade tensions, which they see are at the behest of Trump’s presidential campaign efforts.

“We know that starting from the (June) 18th, President Trump will start the new round of general election campaign, and so we think he is also eager to reach a deal, ” Liang said. “But if we look at the whole situation, China is in no hurry because time is on our side.”


[To read original article, click here]