Ahead of a meeting between officials from the world’s two largest economies to iron out their trade tensions, state-owned Chinese media has one message for the American delegates: Don’t expect China to give into all of your demand.
“Washington had better not expect that its trade-war stick will force Beijing to take whatever the US delegation offers. The imminent dialogue must be held on an equal footing and the US delegation has to come with sincerity,” said a Global Times editorial published on Wednesday.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday in Beijing, after tensions between the two economic giants intensified in recent months with both sides threatening to impose additional tariffs on each other’s products.
The U.S. is sending a high-level delegation to Beijing for the talks, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, the Global Times said.
China has also lined up some of its heavyweight officials to meet the U.S. team, including President Xi Jinping, Vice President Wang Qishan and Xi’s top economic adviser Liu He, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The composition of the US delegation indicates the importance Washington attaches to China-US trade. We hope this can also be shown in how flexible the delegation will be in negotiations. China won’t abandon its principles despite pressure,” the Global Times said.
The U.S., under President Donald Trump, has repeatedly decried Chinese practices which it has called unfair and blamed for worsening the trade balance between the two countries. Trump has also accused China of stealing intellectual property from American companies.
China in the last few weeks reiterated its commitment to opening up its economy, including relaxing rules on investments by foreign auto companies and strengthening intellectual property rights protection — but these moves weren’t made in response to the trade fight with the U.S., according to an editorial by China Daily.
China is opening up because that’s necessary for its own development and it’s “merely an added bonus” if doing so narrows the trade balance with some countries, China Daily said, adding that the U.S. should expect some give-and-take during the talks.
“If the US delegation comes to China believing Beijing’s resolve to open wider to the outside world is a matter of expediency under pressure from Washington, it will likely mean a lot of time is wasted setting the record straight,” the editorial said.