Hope for u.s. trade visit to china a delay in harmful tariffs – canadian manufacturing a gas station near me


WASHINGTON—When U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leads a delegation of American officials to Beijing next week, few analysts expect them to defuse a smouldering trade conflict with China. Rather, the likeliest outcome is a more modest one:

At stake are more than the American manufacturing jobs President Donald Trump vows to protect at rallies around the country. Rules that could determine which countries and which companies will dominate the tech, transportation and pharmaceutical industries for years to come are at issue. So is the state of the global economy: Any prolonged trade war would almost surely depress growth.

Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, who will accompany Mnuchin, said it would take time to persuade China to conform to fundamental trade rules so that U.S. companies can compete without being forced to surrender their technological know-how as a price of doing business in that country, as Beijing now requires.

“The Chinese side resolutely opposes any type of unilateralist or protectionist actions,” Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday. “Investment by Chinese enterprises in the United States has made important contributions by increasing employment and promoting American economic development.”

Trade experts see in the dueling rhetoric a desire by both the United States and China to avoid the damage that would result from the tariffs. Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the most realistic outcome from the talks is that China would fully honour a tentative plan it crafted with Trump a year ago.

That plan emerged from a meeting Trump held at his Florida resort with President Xi Jinping. It included expanded U.S. beef exports, rules for importing cooked Chinese poultry, access to liquid natural gas from the United States and guidelines for providing financial services, among other elements.

Another potential scenario concerns a dispute over auto and auto parts. Beijing could offer to cut its 25 per cent tariff on auto imports and make it easier for U.S. carmakers to do business in China. In a recent speech, Xi pledged to do both. China could also offer to limit its steel exports—another source of tension—or announce purchases of U.S. natural gas or other products, analysts say.

The administration has zeroed in on China’s “Made in China 2025” policy, which seeks to bolster Chinese companies in such industries as semiconductors, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals and electric vehicles. The plan mostly involves subsidizing Chinese firms. But it also requires foreign companies to provide key details about their technology to Chinese partners.

By competing to dominate a future of robots, electric cars, computing and other high tech sectors, the United States and China appear to be on a collision course—one that led the administration to announce tariffs in the first place and China to retaliate.

David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the administration should focus on specific parts of the Made in China 2025 plan that are objectionable. Some elements, such as a requirement that automakers in China manufacture more electric vehicles, aren’t that different from some U.S. policies.

“China’s logic is that it is totally unfair for the U.S. to initiate a trade war,” said Song Lifang, professor at School of Economics, Renmin University. “The more pressure the U.S. is trying to exert on China, the more unyielding the Chinese government will become.”