In this file:


·         7 issues to watch in US-China trade talks 

·         Few details released from U.S. China trade talks

·         US, China leave next steps for trade talks unclear

·         50 days left in U.S.-China talks



7 issues to watch in US-China trade talks


By Bloomberg News

via AgriNews - Jan 10, 2019


BEIJING — U.S. and Chinese officials have reopened trade negotiations, hoping to make a deal during a 90-day truce between President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping.


Seven issues will be essential to making progress:


• Intellectual property ...


• Huawei and 5G ...


• Made in China 2025 ...


• Energy: The trade deal disrupted what should be a sweet deal for the two countries: The U.S. is becoming a major oil and natural gas exporter while China has emerged as the world’s biggest buyer of both. While lifting China’s retaliatory tariff on U.S. liquefied natural gas may revive sales, the bigger, longer-term concern for the industry is restoring enough trust to persuade Chinese companies to invest billions of dollars in American LNG export projects.


• Agricultural imports: Investors will be watching to see if China removes retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farm products — including soybeans, corn, cotton, sorghum and pork — that severely hurt the U.S. heartland. Lifting the tariffs could encourage private buyers to immediately resume U.S. farm-product purchases. If talks fail, China may cancel some soybean orders that have been placed over the past weeks.


• Auto tariffs ...


• Market access for banks ...





Few details released from U.S. China trade talks


By Larry Lee, Brownfield

January 10, 2019


The Deputy U.S. Trade Representative says talks with China this week focused on ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations, but there is still work to do.  Jeffrey Gerrish issued a statement Wednesday saying the focus was on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services along with ongoing verification and effective enforcement of agreements.


Gerrish’s statement didn’t say if they made any progress this week on those issues, but Bloomberg reports observers did see development on energy and agriculture issues...





US, China leave next steps for trade talks unclear


By Joe McDonald and Paul Wiseman, Associated Press

via KTIC (NE) - January 10, 2019


The United States and China gave no indication of their next step after wrapping up talks aimed at resolving a tariff fight that threatens to chill global growth.


The two sides will “maintain close contact,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday. But they announced no agreements or date for meeting again during the 90-day truce declared on Dec. 1 by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in their fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions.


That uncertainty dampened Asian investor sentiment. Stock markets in Germany, France, Japan and China fell back after rising Wednesday following Trump’s comment on Twitter that the talks were “going well!”


Negotiators focused on China’s pledge to buy a “substantial amount” of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods and other products and services, the U.S. Trade Representative said.


However, a USTR statement emphasized American insistence on “structural changes” in Chinese technology policy, market access, protection of foreign patents and copyrights and cyber theft of trade secrets. It gave no sign of progress in those areas.


It also said the negotiations dealt with the need for “ongoing verification and effective enforcement.” That reflects American frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments.


A Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng, said the talks “enhanced mutual understanding and laid the foundation for addressing each other’s concerns.”


Trump hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.


Washington also wants changes in an array of areas including the ruling Communist Party’s initiatives for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics, artificial intelligence and other industries.


American leaders worry those plans might erode U.S. industrial leadership. Chinese leaders see them as a path to prosperity and global influence and are reluctant to abandon them.


The two sides might be moving toward a “narrow agreement,” but “U.S. trade hawks” want to “limit the scope of that agreement and keep the pressure up on Beijing,” Eurasia Group analysts Michael Hirson, Jeffrey Wright and Paul Triolo said in a report.


“The risk of talks breaking down remains significant,” they wrote.


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed optimism to Fox Business Network. She said Wednesday the timing was unclear but the two sides are moving toward “more balanced and reciprocal” trade.


Beijing has tried to mollify Washington and other trading partners by promising to buy more of their goods and open its industries wider to foreign competitors.


Trump has complained repeatedly about the U.S. trade deficit with China, which last year likely exceeded the 2017 gap of $336 billion.


Economists say the 90-day window is too short to resolve all the conflicts between the biggest and second-biggest global economies...





50 days left in U.S.-China talks


By Sabrina Rodriquez, POLITICO

With help from Doug Palmer, Adam Behsudi and Megan Cassella





— U.S. officials are back from mid-level trade talks in Beijing, but few details have been released on what comes next. USTR says officials are examining next steps but won’t offer when the next round of talks will take place.


— Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley says he will advise President Donald Trump to withdraw from NAFTA if Democrats push to renegotiate USMCA. But some Democrats are already making it known that they want the U.S. to go back to the negotiating table.


— EU trade chief Cecilia Malmström stands firm on keeping agriculture out of U.S. negotiations, while Grassley reiterates its importance for congressional approval.


Driving the Day


50 DAYS LEFT IN U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Today marks the 40th day since the U.S. and China agreed on Dec. 1 to try to resolve their difference in 90 days. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and other members of a U.S. negotiating team are back in Washington today after three days of talks in Beijing. But many big questions remain, such as when is the next round, who’s going to lead it and will the final deal mainly involve big Chinese purchases or will Beijing actually make meaningful reforms?


Trump made no public comments about the negotiations, but Grassley said the president told Republicans he thought the talks were making progress. Doug has more here.


China’s Ministry of Commerce released a somewhat upbeat statement on the talks, claiming they have “laid the foundation for resolving mutual concerns.” A rough translation said there were detailed exchanges on trade and structural issues and that both sides agreed to stay in close contact.


Tight window ...


Where’s Congress in all this? ...






Risking backlash ...  


HOUSE DEMS START HATCHING USMCA PLAN: House Democrats have already started meeting to strategize how to reshape Trump’s new deal to their liking. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told Morning Trade that between 20 to 25 concerned members and/or their staff are participating in weekly meetings organized by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). He also said there is “whip team” forming on NAFTA 2.0 to get the rest of the caucus on the same page when it comes to the labor and environment improvements Democrats will seek.


“We certainly want to work with the president on this,” Ryan said in an interview. He added that the current deal contains “no real mechanism for quick enforcement” of the pact’s labor provisions. Ryan said he’ll be “very involved” in the USMCA fight. His northeast Ohio district was roiled by General Motors’ decision to idle production at a major plant in Lordstown. Democrats have blamed NAFTA for creating an incentive for U.S. manufacturers to take advantage of Mexico’s cheap labor market, although the new deal contains provisions that could improve working conditions south of the border.


“There’s gotta be penalties, there’s gotta be ramifications” for violations of USMCA’s labor rules, Ryan said.






On the other end of the political spectrum ...






Let’s work together? ...


DR-CAFTA COUNTRIES IN THE CROSSHAIRS? USTR on Wednesday distanced itself from a McClatchy report that the administration is considering kicking three countries out of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement.


“We are very concerned with Nicaragua’s move toward authoritarianism, and El Salvador’s and Dominican Republic’s questionable ties with China,” an unidentified administration official said in the McClatchy story. “We will not allow our trade agreements, including CAFTA-DR, to become backdoors to benefit non-market economies and repressive actors in the region.”


USTR’s press office said it could not confirm that the administration was thinking about expelling the three countries and has no announcement to make on that front.




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