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美方声明 北京中层官员谈判会后
 

美方声明 北京中层官员谈判会后  

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09/01/2019 7:00 下午  

Talks to End U.S.-China Trade War Now Shift to Make-or-Break Rounds

 
Trade negotiators, including Ted McKinney, the undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, right, in Beijing on Tuesday.CreditGreg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
 
 
 
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Trade negotiators, including Ted McKinney, the undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, right, in Beijing on Tuesday.CreditCreditGreg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Jan. 9, 2019

BEIJING — Three days of trade negotiations between midlevel American and Chinese officials ended in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon with progress in identifying and narrowing the two sides’ differences but little sense of when they might reach a deal.

The trade talks could help clear the way for higher-level talks this month when President Trump attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Vice Premier Liu He, China’s economic czar, is expected to go to Washington sometime after that.

Chinese officials had no immediate comment, although the Commerce Ministry was expected to address the negotiations during its weekly news conference on Thursday.

In a statement after the talks ended, the United States trade representative’s office said the two sides had discussed China’s pledge to buy a “substantial” amount of American agricultural, energy and manufacturing products.

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Negotiators also focused on White House concerns about China’s approach to intellectual property protection and its practice of so-called forced technology transfer, the statement said.

The Trump administration wants to ensure that China keeps its commitments in any deal that is reached. To that end, the statement said, officials discussed “the need for any agreement to provide for complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement.”

 

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The United States delegation plans to report back to the White House to determine what happens next. The administration has set a March 2 deadline for raising tariffs on roughly two-fifths of annual American imports from China if no deal is reached.

“I’m optimistic that they’re making progress — the tone of the talks is important, and this tone has been good,” said Dean Pinkert, a former commissioner of the United States International Trade Commission who is now a trade law partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a big international law firm. “It is still important to the U.S. government to get credible commitments.”

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At issue is the extent to which China is willing to offer binding commitments to change trade practices that have long irked President Trump and his administration.

The scheduled two-day talks extended into a third day as American officials pressed China for more details on how it will live up to its commitments, said people with knowledge of the negotiations, who insisted on anonymity to avoid disrupting the talks.

China has made a series of offers to the Trump administration in recent weeks to end the trade war. But many of the administration’s trade hawks regard them as nebulous, especially when it comes to Chinese trade practices that administration officials consider unfair.

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They allege that officials in China pressure foreign companies to transfer key technologies to Chinese rivals as a condition for entering the country’s market. They also protest lavish government subsidies granted through the Made in China 2025program to build local companies into global powerhouses inindustries like commercial aircraft, semiconductors and electric cars.

 
The Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.CreditOliver Zhang/Associated Press
 
 
 
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The Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.CreditOliver Zhang/Associated Press

China denies that its trade practices have been unfair. Nevertheless, officials have agreed to make it easier for multinational corporations to participate in manufacturing development programs in China. They have also promised to improve intellectual property protection and to ban the forced transfer of technology.

Both sides see reasons to reach a deal soon. Mr. Trump wants to stabilize volatile financial markets, people familiar with the administration’s deliberations said. President Xi Jinping of China is trying to confront weak business and consumer confidence, which have already triggered a sharp economic slowdown in his country.

Adding to the difficulty of reaching a deal has been the fractious nature of the Trump administration, with the three main government departments involved in the negotiations each pursuing a somewhat different agenda. Those different agendas to some extent reflect each agency’s institutional biases and responsibilities, but make it harder to predict what a final deal will look like.

Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative and a hawk on trade issues, has led the push to impose tariffs on imports from China and has pursued an ambitious agenda that would require China to carry out verifiable and enforceable changes to the basic structure of its economy. Mr. Trump said last month that Mr. Lighthizer would be the lead trade negotiator with China.

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The Commerce Department, which oversees American export promotion activities overseas, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have been pushing since the early days of the administration for a deal that would require China to buy more food, natural gas and other products from the United States. Beijing officials have been happy to go along, as their country is short on arable land and gas, and long-term purchase agreements fit easily into the Chinese government’s economic planning model.

The Treasury Department, under Secretary Steven Mnuchin, has been pushing for a quick deal that would stop further increases in American tariffs. But Treasury would preserve indefinitely the 25 percent tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed in July and August on $50 billion a year in Chinese-made goods, or roughly a tenth of American imports, and the 10 percent tariffs that he imposed in September on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods.

That first set of tariffs covers several categories in which China does not export much now but plans to do so in the next several years. The most important products covered by the 25 percent tariffs are gasoline-powered and electric cars. At least six Chinese automakers have announced plans to start exporting cars to the United States in 2020, said Michael Dunne, the chief executive of ZoZo Go, an automotive consulting firm specializing in China.

“Import duties will slow — but not stop — Chinese automakers’ plans to enter the U.S.,” he said. “With a slowing home market, pressure to export has never been greater.”

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Democrats and Republicans alike have been wary of allowing an influx of Chinese cars in an election year, particularly when manufacturing states like Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin have been among the main electoral battlegrounds in recent decades.

In the latest sign that the Chinese economy could use a lift from a trade agreement, officials announced Wednesday evening that car sales plummeted 19 percent last month from a year earlier, the steepest such decline in modern record-keeping in China.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi agreed in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1 to a temporary truce that would keep last summer’s American tariffs in place and suspend much of China’s retaliation for those tariffs, but had few other details. So the quickest possible deal in the coming weeks could be to make that arrangement more permanent.

Complicating the trade talks has been Mr. Xi’s decision to invite North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to visit Beijing this week. Mr. Trump has been pushing North Korea to abandon the development of missiles with nuclear warheads that can reach the United States, but he needs China’s cooperation to do so because China is North Korea’s main ally and largest trading partner.

Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported that Mr. Kim left Beijing early Wednesday afternoon, about the same time that the trade talks ended. Lu Kang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, declined to provide details.

 

Follow Keith Bradsher on Twitter: @KeithBradsher.


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10/01/2019 9:58 上午  

中美副部级贸易谈判昨在市场憧憬达成协议下结束。美国《华尔街日报》报道,双方均认为,会谈取得进展,足以为下一轮部长级会谈铺路。外媒引述消息称,双方在收窄贸易分歧上取得进展,但在强制转让技术等结构问题上的分歧却扩大,美国贸易代表莱特希泽及副总理刘鹤预期本月稍后在美国首府华盛顿会晤,料将为中美贸易战正式"拆弹"。

中美副部级贸易谈判在加时一天后昨日结束。有份与会的美国农业部副部长麦金尼形容,会谈取得不错的进展:"对我们来说是不错的。"中国外交部发言人陆慷形容,会谈由原来的两天加时至前后三日,反映双方态度非常认真,指会谈一旦带来好结果,不仅对中美有利,对全球经济也是一个好消息:"至于下一轮磋商甚么时间、如何举行,也许发佈的消息里会有。"

美国《华尔街日报》引述知情人士称,双方在收窄贸易分歧特别是中方购买美国农产品、服务及扩大市场准入等取得进展,但距离达成协议仍有一段距离。报道指出,双方在首两日进行了紧张会谈,与会代表尝试找出确保中国落实承诺的具体方式,亦磋商了许多棘手问题。双方均认为,本周会谈已取得足够进展,或于本月稍后在华盛顿举行下一轮部长级会谈。

美国彭博新闻社亦引述知情人士称,双方就农产品、能源服务等范围取得更多共识,但在一些结构性问题上分歧却扩大,需由双方更高层官员本月稍后会晤时处理。美方一直要求北京推行结构性改革,遏止中方窃取技术及强制美企转让技术。

美国《华尔街日报》引述消息指,中美谈判面临的重大挑战是如何让北京方面履行承诺,防止中国企业强制美企转让技术。

报道指出,莱特希泽正在考虑采取多种方式,确保中方在保护知识产权及企业补贴政策上信守承诺;另一个方法是暂停征收部份关税,但保留在中国未能兑现承诺下重新征收关税的权利。

中美副部级会谈周一起一连三日在北京举行,美国副贸易代表格里什与中国商务部部长钟山及副部长王受文等中方官员会晤,落实去年12月1日G20"习特会"中美元首共识,也是自G20"习特会"以来中美两国贸易官员首度举行面谈。中方隆重其事,代表团人数上百,人数是美方代表团的一倍。彭博新闻社报道,会谈共分购买农产品及工业制品、知识产权及非关税措施等多个小组进行。刘鹤在首日会谈突然现身,向与会代表示好,反映中国经济增长放缓下,中方希望和美国达成协议以免中美贸易战升级的决心。


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