Trade deadlock with US dims China’s hopes for support on Doklam stand-off

Highlights
  • The US demanded an end to Chinese dumping of steel and a reduction in trade deficit
  • The economic dialogue has resulted in a setback in US-China relationship
  • This will make it difficult for China to get US to accept their view on Doklam stand-off

China’s hopes of getting the West’s support on the Doklam stand-off dimmed with a setback this week for its negotiators at the annual US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Washington.

Negotiations between the two sides got into a deadlock as American negotiators demanded an end to Chinese dumping of steel and a reduction in the adverse trade deficit created by Chinese exporters.

Chinese envoys are already facing an uphill task trying to convince western countries that the world’s biggest democracy was actually an aggressor on the border with the second biggest economy. It is much easy for China to persuade countries depending on its largesse (like Pakistan)+ that it is a victim at the Doklam plateau where Indian troops have allegedly trespassed into Chinese territory.

A joint press conference that was to be held by officials of the two countries was abruptly cancelled.

“The press conference was canceled because there was nothing to say. Nothing has been achieved in specific terms,” Sourabh Gupta, a senior specialist at the Institute of China America Studies in Washington told TOI. “The US came down very hard on China and I think China balked,” he said.

The economic dialogue has resulted in a setback in US-China relationship, which will make it more difficult for Chinese diplomats to get Washington to accept their point of view on the border standoff with India+ , sources said.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said that Chinese dumping of steel and other goods has led to huge loss of American jobs. During the negotiations, US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said that China’s $347 trade deficit with his country was not the result of natural market forces but the absence of “fair, equitable and reciprocal” relationship between the two countries.

“We must create more balance in our trade by increasing exports of made-in-America goods to China,” Ross said adding, “There are significant opportunities to do this if we can work together to remove the significant barriers that continue to exist”.

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang, who participated in the talks, spoke about the importance of cooperation between the two countries in general terms but had nothing specific to report in terms of outcomes.

“Good cooperation between China and the US, the world’s two largest economies, will not only benefit the businesses and people of the two countries, but the entire world,” China’s state media quoted him as saying.

By: TNN

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