China’s “unfair trade practices” have cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars, the US Trade Representative and Treasury Department said in a statement rebuking Beijing for the stalemate in negotiations between the two biggest economies. The statement, seen Tuesday on the USTR’s website, did not include any new actions against China.
But it said the United States was “disappointed” by a report Beijing issued over the weekend defending China’s stance and accusing US officials of backsliding in the talks. It said Beijing was pursuing “a blame game misrepresenting the nature and history of trade negotiations.” “It is important to note that the impetus for the discussions was China’s long history of unfair trade practices,” the statement said.
Such actions have “caused severe harm to American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.” The two sides are in a stalemate after 11 rounds of talks over trade and technology issues that have led to both sides raising tariffs on hundreds of billions of each other’s goods, among other retaliatory measures. President Donald Trump has said he expects to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies planned for Osaka, Japan, in late June.
But with no sign of a fresh round of talks, the two governments are trading blame and maneuvering to drum up domestic support for what is turning out to be a bruising trade war for farmers and manufacturers on both sides. On Tuesday, the 30th anniversary of the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, a commentary in the Chinese newspaper Global Times praised the ruling Communist Party’s decisions at such critical moments as crucial for creating the country’s “growth miracle.” “It would have been impossible for China to make the achievements of the past 30 years had there been any political instability,” it said, without specifically mentioning the June 4 anniversary.
“China’s history, culture and other conditions have determined that it cannot take the same path as some Western countries did,” said the commentary in the Communist Party-controlled newspaper. It cited the trade war as one of many problems that China’s economy has confronted in recent decades. “The reason why the Chinese economy can create miracles is precisely because it has taken a path that suits its own national conditions, rather than blindly following the Western theory.” The report issued by China on Sunday said Beijing would not back down on “major issues of principle” and that it had kept its word throughout the talks.
It accused Washington of backtracking by introducing new tariffs and other conditions beyond what had been agreed to earlier. China has not yet announced details of a list of “unreliable entities” that Beijing announced last week it was planning to issue. Wang Shouwen, a Commerce Ministry vice minister, said the list would target companies that “violated market principles” and that cut supplies of components to Chinese businesses for non-commercial reasons. Wang also reiterated suggestions that China might limit exports of rare earths, minerals such as lithium that are used in many products including cellphones, electric vehicles and the batteries that run them. That announcement followed a decision by the US Commerce Department to effectively bar US companies from selling or transferring technology to Huawei Technologies, a company based in southern China’s Shenzhen that is the world’s biggest maker of network gear and No. 2 smartphone manufacturer.