Chinese trade deal 'unacceptable' unless Beijing opens markets

Is This the End of the WTO as We Know It

US President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that trade talks with Chinese representatives in Washington were going well but wrote no final deal will be signed until he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The president briefly spoke to reporters before meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, saying that China has agreed to purchase 5 million tons of US soybeans per day.

In remarks to reporters as a two-day round of high-level talks between US and Chinese negotiators wound down, Trump said he did not know whether he would push back a deadline to raise USA tariffs on Chinese goods at the beginning of March.

After a few minutes, Lighthizer broke the silence with joking small talk about table positioning and appearing in photographs from the meeting between U.S.President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina a year ago.

By declaring that "NOTHING" would be left unresolved he also set a high bar for what could be accomplished in the next month before a March 1 deadline when tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports are set to more than double.

Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion of goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 2 if an agreement can not be reached.

Trump stated in a tweet that he wanted Beijing open the Chinese markets not only to financial services but also to "Manufacturing, Farmers and other United States businesses and industries". "Any deal that does not include China opening its markets for manufacturing and agricultural products to US producers will be" unacceptable", the president wrote.

China is fighting a major trade dispute at the WTO against US and European Union claims that China is not a "market economy" and therefore that its export prices should not be taken at face value when evaluating whether it is trading fairly.

The talks were threatened to be overshadowed by Monday's indictment by US prosecutors of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday said it expected that Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum, and Chinese goods would cut the US's real gross domestic product by at least 0.1 per cent on average through 2029. Beijing retaliated with levies on $110 billion in U.S. goods. He has also imposed global tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, washing machines and solar panels and has threatened to raise tariffs on imported cars unless Japan and the European Union offer trade concessions.

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The chief justice, Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen, faces trial on charges of allegedly failing to declare his assets. Buhari, who came to power in 2015 on a pledge to fight corruption, is seeking a second term.

But compelling China to reform its trade policies and treatment of foreign companies will be hard.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China trade negotiators proposed a meeting between Xi and Trump in China next month, but the White House has not confirmed a potential summit.

"For the trade talks this week, nothing significant is going to happen", Okun, a trade expert and a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, told CNBC's "Capital Connection" on Thursday.

The US imposed tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods a year ago.

USA officials and some analysts say they believe its weakening economy will pressure the Chinese into making concessions.

The draft legislation, which was first reviewed by the NPC's Standing Committee in December 2018, is said to ban compulsory technology transfer, guarantee equal treatment of foreign companies, and protect foreign companies' intellectual property rights. This could maintain the threat of USA tariffs on Chinese goods for the long term.

"The scope of these talks will be the broadest and deepest in U.S".

Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin attended this high-level economic and trade consultations.

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