This week’s talks in Washington, will not end the trade war, argues Eleanor Olcott. Instead they will reveal a pathway to a patchwork deal that will fall short of US aims.
China’s Vice Premier, Liu He is in Washington for trade talks. This in itself is an improvement from September, when the Chinese trade negotiators rejected an invitation to the US capital, saying Donald Trump was putting “a knife to China’s neck”. The US Department of Justice’s list of criminal charges against Huawei that emerged earlier this week provides a tense backdrop for talks but is unlikely to derail talks. Trump is the ultimate arbiter of this process and he has signalled his desire for an agreement amid a slowing global economy and weakening US economic data. It is unusual for US Presidents to involve themselves in lower-level official negotiations, but Trump is scheduled to meet with Liu He this week, an event that he is likely to claim as a crucial step towards a victorious “trade deal”.
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