China issued a warning to its companies in the United States (US) on Tuesday that they could face harassment from the US law enforcement agencies. The two countries have been slapping tariffs at each other indicating that the trade war looks far from receding. The agencies, which have taken the lead in negotiations for the US, said that the impetus for the negotiations was China’s “long history of unfair trade practices” and US negotiating positions have been consistent throughout the talks.
What are the recent developments?
In early May, the two nations put a halt over their talks when US accused Beijing of backtracking on commitments to codify in law changes to its intellectual property and technology transfer practices to address US demands.
US President Donald Trump, in turn, increased tariffs to 25 per cent on a $200 billion list of Chinese goods on May 10, saying that China “broke the deal.” His administration later imposed severe sanctions against Huawei Technologies Co, China’s premier telecommunications equipment firm.c
China on Sunday issued a government policy paper on the US-China trade dispute in which it asserted that the US bore responsibility for setbacks in the talks, citing three instances in which Washington had backtracked on commitments made during the negotiations.
“The United States is disappointed that the Chinese have chosen in the ‘White Paper’ issued (on Sunday) and recent public statements to pursue a blame game misrepresenting the nature and history of trade negotiations between the two countries.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that the United States was “singing the same old tune”, and urged Washington to read China’s white papers and stop telling itself it is infallible.
What tariffs have been imposed so far?
Last year, US imposed three rounds of tariffs Chinese goods worth over USD 250 billion. A wide range of industrial and consumer items were covered under the tariffs including handbags and railway equipment.
Beijing retaliated with their set of tariffs imposed on US goods worth over USD 110 billion and accused the US of initiating “the largest trade war in the economic history”. China targeted US products including chemicals, coal and medical equipment as well as products made in US districts.
Retaining a temporary truce between the nations till December, Washington slapped additional tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from 10 per cent, prompting Beijing to retaliate.
There have been no talks scheduled since the last round ended in May, and it remains unclear whether Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet when they both attend the G20 leaders summit later this month in Japan.
US Treasury Aid accused China of playing ‘blame game’
In a joint statement on Monday, the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the U.S. Treasury said China was pursuing a “blame game” in recent public statements and a weekend white paper that misrepresented the trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.
“Our insistence on detailed and enforceable commitments from the Chinese in no way constitutes a threat to Chinese sovereignty,” USTR and the Treasury said. “Rather, the issues discussed are common to trade agreements and are necessary to address the systemic issues that have contributed to persistent and unsustainable trade deficits.”