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China: What Deal?

Lu Kang
Lu Kang

By The Maritime Executive 2019-05-20 20:45:36

China has rebuffed claims by U.S. President Donald Trump that it broke a deal made to end the trade war. Lu Kang, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, said on May 20: “I am not sure what the U.S. side was referring to by 'a deal.' Perhaps it has bore in mind all along 'a deal' of its own wildwish, one that China has certainly not agreed on however.”

In an interview with Fox News aired on Sunday night, Trump said the U.S. and China “had a very strong deal, we had a good deal, and they changed it. And I said: ‘that’s OK, we’re going to tariff their products.’”

The U.S. has followed China's retaliatory tariff increase by adding telecom equipment company Huawei to a trade black list that restricts its ability to purchase American components and software.

Lu says: “The fundamental reason for the failure to reach an agreement in the 11 rounds of China-U.S. economic and trade consultations is that the U.S. side is trying to realize unreasonable demands for its interests through extreme pressure, and the U.S. side wants to confuse public opinion and shift the blame to others.”

That pressure has been seen to be ramped up with the U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Preble sailing into the waters adjacent to disputed islands in the South China Sea in the morning of May 20. China warned the vessel to leave. “The provocation of the U.S. warship endangered the safety of ships, aircraft and personnel of both sides, undermined China's sovereignty and security, violated the basic norms governing international relations and sabotaged regional peace and stability,” said Senior Colonel Li Huamin, spokesman for the PLA Southern Theater Command Monday.

No new trade talks have been scheduled, and Reuters reports that the situation has cast doubt on a possible meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at a G20 Summit in Japan. 

The news comes as Trump said that the U.S. has just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico. “We’ll be selling our product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs or major tariffs.”
 
The United States has strong relationships with both Canada and Mexico, Trump said, but that shouldn't stop us from negotiating hard to protect American workers and jobs. Canada, for example, has been “charging us extremely high tariffs, as much as 285 percent or more, for our agricultural products, which is an absolute barrier,” he said.

The same day he announced that Canada and Mexico would lift their retaliatory tariffs, the Administration also reported that it had successfully negotiated a deal to remove Japan’s longstanding restrictions on American beef exports.

In a Proclamation recognizing World Trade Week, Trump reflected on the trade principles he promised to the White House: “After decades of politicians putting the global business class ahead of America’s industrial and agricultural heartland, working families finally heard the voice of a President that was willing to fight for them on January 20, 2017.”

“From this moment on, it’s going to be America First,” Trump said at his Inauguration. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”