China ready for a trade compromise with the US
China’s vice minister of commerce for international trade negotiations has called for a compromise with the US that could make a trade deal easier to reach this spring.
He said China would be amenable to an agreement that gave each side an equal right to take trade actions against the other side after an agreement was struck, New York Times reported.
"Any implementation mechanism must go in both directions, fair and equal," Wang said, using China’s preferred term for an enforcement mechanism.
He spoke at an annual news conference given by the Chinese Commerce Ministry’s top officials, in conjunction with the 11-day session of the country’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress.
Wang did not address another aspect of the enforcement question that has deeply divided the United States and China. While the Trump administration wants the right to reimpose tariffs unilaterally, China’s Commerce Ministry has favoured creating a lengthy process of bilateral consultations if either side has a grievance.
The Chinese official did not answer a question about whether Trump and President Xi Jinping might meet in Florida this month to seal a trade deal.
Over the past year, the most contentious issue in the countries’ trade talks has been the Trump administration’s demand for what it calls an enforcement provision, which would allow the United States to monitor China’s behaviour and put penalties in place if the Chinese violated the deal.
US tariffs imposed on many countries faced its own industries including boat manufacturing industry with billions lost and is putting a lot of jobs in danger.
The Trump administration has pressed China to accept an agreement allowing the United States to unilaterally reimpose tariffs if it concludes that China has not gone through with structural changes to its economy. In the past month, the administration has also pushed for a broader enforcement mechanism, which would include the right to reimpose tariffs for any category of goods in which imports from China surge.
In exchange, the Trump administration would roll back at least some of the tariffs it placed on $250 billion of imports from China that it imposed last year, penalties that have strained ties between the governments, rocked financial markets and thrown the future of companies that operate in both countries in doubt.
Chinese officials have strongly resisted the idea of an enforcement provision. They worry that the Trump administration, or future ones, could invoke it at any time to restart trade frictions.