The bitter trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies is finally showing signs of coming to an end as China reportedly delivered a written response to the Trump administration’s trade reform demands.
China’s response was reported to Reuters and several other outlets by unnamed U.S. government officials in Washington. According to these sources, China’s outline of possible concessions falls short of what President Donald Trump is asking for, but may effectively signal the end of what Vice President Mike Pence has referred to as 2018’s Cold War.
Sources have not yet disclosed exactly what these concessions are.
“They are not close to a favorable deal on trade. Not in the same universe,” the Washington-based source told Reuters.
President Trump has been a vocal critic of Chinese trade policy since long before he entered the political arena. His campaign for president commonly touched on the U.S. trade deficit with China, which he has attributed to Beijing’s strict barriers on U.S.-based companies from doing business there. Officials in Beijing have long maintained that China respects international law.
“China respects U.S. sovereignty, security, and development interests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has been quoted as saying. “The U.S. side should also respect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, and respect the development path chosen by the Chinese people in line with its own national conditions.”
Trump has also targeted Chinese intellectual property theft and industrial subsidies. The president is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the G20 Summit at the end of November and beginning of December in Argentina.
News of China’s possible concessions comes as the Trump Administration slowly loosens its tariff policy. President Donald Trump recently reached an agreement with the European Union, exempting the trade bloc from tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other goods. The U.S. currently imposes tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Clearly, it is a good sign for the United States that China is signaling at least a willingness to negotiate. But keep in mind that Beijing is still playing its own game, and at this point we shouldn’t expect the trade war between these two economic behemoths to end until more compromises are made.