As new tariffs took effect Sunday after Washington refused to postpone them, the United States and China found themselves struggling to set a concrete date for a meeting to resume trade talks later this month, said people with knowledge of the discussions.
Bloomberg writes that despite efforts by President Donald Trump to calm markets and convince the public that trade talks are progressing, it is becoming more apparent that the two sides are stuck trying to determine basic terms of re-engagement, due to mistrust caused by levies by both countries.
“China is moving along, we’re doing very well. We are talking to China, the meeting is still on as you know, in September. That hasn’t changed — they haven’t changed it, we haven’t,” said Trump. “We’ll see what happens. But we can’t allow China to rip us off anymore as a country,” he added.
The people familiar with the discussions acknowledged that the situation did not necessarily mean the meeting won’t take place, but confirmed that the U.S. and China cannot seem to agree when to host Chinese officials in Washington.
However, two of them said that at least two requests have proven to be sticking points for Washington and Beijing, one of which was the Chinese request for postponing the tariffs. Trump decided to go ahead with the levies, the outlet adds, achieving what it seems to be the opposite effect of what is desired.
According to Chinese state media, Beijing is prepared to overcome the latest economic obstacles, while going ahead with plans to file a complaint at the World Trade Organization against the U.S. tariffs under the dispute settlement process.
“If the U.S. truly wants to reach a mutually-benefiting and win-win deal with China, some people in the U.S. must honor the consensus, work in concert with the Chinese side and return to the right track with sincerity,” the state-run People’s Daily wrote in a commentary Tuesday.
Another Chinese daily newspaper said that the U.S. needed to reconsider its strategy, adding that working towards a deal “would be a more fruitful approach.”
The comments came after President Trump decided to go ahead with slapping 15-percent tariffs on about $112 billion in Chinese products. Another batch of tariffs from the United States is scheduled for December 15, which will cover approximately $160 billion in Chinese imports.
China has threatened retaliatory tariffs of its own, shaking markets and raising concerns for worsening downward trends.