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US will hold frank talks with China on trade

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The point of talks in the coming days is “not to inflame trade tensions with China”: US (File)

Washington:

The United States said it would soon hold “clear talks” with China on trade as Washington believes the Asian giant has not honored its commitments under the 2020 deal, but between economic powers Increasing tension is not the goal.

“China has made commitments intended to benefit certain American industries, including agriculture, that we must implement,” US Trade Representative Catherine Tai said in a speech on Monday.

However, the issue of talks in the coming days is “not to escalate trade tensions with China,” Tai said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

She also warned that President Joe Biden’s administration is “ready to deploy all the tools and explore development of new ones” to “protect itself against waves of damage caused over the years through unfair competition”.

Tai announced the launch of “a targeted tariff exclusion process” for exemptions from customs duties imposed on $370 billion worth of Chinese goods implemented under former President Donald Trump.

The punitive tariffs imposed in retaliation for Chinese trade practices deemed “unfair” are criticized by many companies.

In August influential US trade groups urged Biden to reduce surcharges, pointing out that US industries face “increased costs” as tariffs are paid for by importers.

A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the tariffs “will remain stable” for the duration of the waiver process.

Biden, who took office in January, asked Tai to conduct a comprehensive review of US trade strategy towards China and tariffs introduced by Trump.

Tai said “we continue to have serious concerns with China’s state-focused and non-market trade practices” that were not addressed in the “phase one” agreement signed early last year to quell the trade war between the countries. had gone.

“As we work to implement the terms of the first phase, we will raise these broader policy concerns with Beijing.”

Unlike Trump and Tai, the deal signed by Vice Premier Liu He committed Beijing to add an additional $200 billion in purchases of US exports, including energy, agriculture and manufactured products, through 2021.

Trade analysts say that is far from being the case.

The Biden administration official did not specify the extent of the reduction, while indicating that Washington is dissatisfied.

“There are some commitments that have not been met and we think the outcome of the agreement has been mixed,” the official said, “not to escalate trade tensions.”

– ‘Work with our partners’ –

Tai’s speech highlighted the administration’s strategy to align with allied democracies in its competition with China.

Trump, who rejected traditional US alliances, sparked worldwide market anxiety with his trade war.

However, they produced limited concrete results, let alone progress on deep-seated problems that the United States and its allies say.

These include massive state subsidies for national companies, intellectual property theft and other factors that create a very uneven playing field.

“At the core of our strategy is our commitment to ensuring that we work with our partners to create a fair and open market,” Tai said.

Tai also emphasized that the US-China trade relationship is “one of grave consequences.”

“As the world’s two largest economies, how we relate to each other doesn’t just affect our two countries. It affects the entire world and billions of workers.”

Overall, Washington sees a bleak outlook, with the administration official saying “we know China is unlikely to make meaningful reforms just yet” and there is no push to start the long-awaited Phase Two talks.

“Beijing is becoming increasingly clear that it is doubling down on its authoritarian, state-centric approach, and is resistant to addressing our structural concerns,” the official said.

“We believe that China cannot change easily and we have to develop a strategy that treats China the way we want to,” he said.

National Foreign Trade Council chairman Jake Colvin said Tai’s remarks indicated “the Biden administration recognizes that decoupling is not an option” for rival countries.

He called it “encouraging” to see “outline a comprehensive strategy to firmly and directly engage China, while providing American businesses and workers with the tools they need to compete effectively in the global marketplace.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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