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China says Liu He will still attend trade talks

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 7, 2019 - Duration: 02:01s

China says Liu He will still attend trade talks

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States this week for trade talks, Beijing said on Tuesday, playing down a sudden increase in tensions after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to impose new tariffs.

Ed Giles reports.

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China says Liu He will still attend trade talks

China's still sending its top trade official to Washington this week.

Beijing said Tuesday (May 7) that Liu He would travel to DC on Thursday, after days of market turmoil and confusion over whether talks with the U.S would actually go ahead.

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, one of Washington's leads in the talks, said Monday (May 6) he'd seen a quote "erosion in commitments by China" over the past week.

Evidence China was backtracking may be what pushed U.S. President Donald Trump to say he'd hike tariffs on Chinese goods this Friday (May 10).

Trump tweeted Sunday (May 5) he'd ramp up tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods, from 10 percent to 25 percent, because trade negotiations were going too slow.

But, Reuters Michael Martina has been covering the story from Beijing, and says some observers won't be surprised by the flare-up.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, MICHAEL MARTINA SAYING: "So both governments in recent weeks before Trump's latest remarks had been expressing optimism about the possibility of reaching a deal.

In fact if you talk to trade experts and even executives and companies involved in China-US trade, there's actually a fair amount of skepticism that any kind of long-lasting deal could be reached basically because of the rigidity of US demands and because of China's essentially unwillingness or ability to implement such reforms. Chinese trade experts say that recent positive economic indicators could mean that both sides have less incentive to quickly reach a deal.

Whether or not that's actually the case, most people here in China believe that China is unlikely to fully respond to US demands to essentially revamp its economic model.

They suggest that it would be more disastrous politically for China's government to capitulate to the United States on these issues than it would be to face an economic downturn." The trade conflict between the world's two biggest economies has cost each side billions of dollars in the past year, affecting industries from auto manufacturing to agriculture.

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