The United States and China launch a second round of trade talks on Thursday to try to avert a damaging tariff war, with the Trump administration demanding a $200 billion cut in China’s U.S. trade surplus and greater protections for intellectual property.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose up to $150 billion in punitive tariffs to combat what he says is Beijing’s misappropriation of U.S. technology through joint venture requirements and other policies. Beijing has threatened equal retaliation, including tariffs on some of its largest U.S. imports, including aircraft, soybeans and autos.
At talks in Beijing two weeks ago, the two sides presented lengthy lists of demands to each other, agreeing only to keep talking.
The Trump administration sought a $200 billion reduction in China’s $375 billion U.S. goods trade surplus, an end to joint venture requirements that it says coerce technology transfers from U.S. companies and an end to subsidies for advanced technology industries under the “Made in China” 2025 program.
China demanded that Trump relax crushing restrictions imposed on Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE, as well as an end to restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States and sales of high-technology goods to China, among others.
Trump on Sunday said on Twitter that he would help put ZTE back in business after a Commerce Department ban cut off its supply of U.S. components, forcing it to suspend operations.
In tweets on Wednesday, Trump linked ZTE’s situation to a larger trade deal with China and said that Beijing has “much to give” Washington on trade, denying suggestions that his administration was “folding” in negotiations with Beijing.
“Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“We have not seen China’s demands yet, which should be few in that previous U.S. Administrations have done so poorly in negotiating. The U.S. has very little to give, because it has given so much over the years. China has much to give!”