“The move from unilateral action by the U.S. to bilateral negotiations is a process Beijing has urged since talks broke down in the early summer. But there is no evidence that a start has been made on bridging fundamental differences, in particular the ambition of the president’s trade team to get the People’s Republic to dismantle its Party State system and abandon the economic modernization ambitions of its Made in China 2025 program. Ninety days seems much too short a time to achieve much on this front given the political implications of any systemic change in the China model. With the path to a deal extremely unclear on structural issues laid out by the White House, such as forced technology transfer, IP protection, cyber theft and non-tariff barriers, the Trump administration will face the choice between reverting to 25% tariffs or declaring that enough progress has been made to merit a further postponement for more negotiation.” — TS Lombard economists.
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