The long-anticipated statement from the US Trade Representative on the just concluded 3 days of talks in Beijing has been released and it appears to be another “nothingburger”:
In readout of China talks, USTR says officials discussed the need for any agreement w/ China to provide for “complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement.” pic.twitter.com/GznRcNJSdz
— Alan Rappeport (@arappeport) January 9, 2019
In the brief, sub-200 word statement, the USTR says that US and China negotiators discussed ways to achieve “fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations”; additionally, the talks also “focused on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States” – something that is hardly news – while the two sides also discussed “the need for any agreement to provide for complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement.”
In other words, absolutely no formal agreements or commitments and just more hot air, which begs the question: what was the point of this meeting if it achieved nothing in terms of trade, but then we look at the market’s response which is up 5% in four days on “trade deal optimism” and suddenly it all becomes clear.
Here is the full “Statement on the United States Trade Delegation’s Meetings in Beijing”
On January 7-9, an official delegation from the United States led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish held meetings in Beijing with Chinese officials to discuss ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations between our two countries. The officials also discussed the need for any agreement to provide for complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement
The meetings were held as part of the agreement reached by President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires to engage in 90 days of negotiations with a view to achieving needed structural changes in China with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft of trade secrets for commercial purposes, services, and agriculture.
The talks also focused on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States. The United States officials conveyed President Trump’s commitment to addressing our persistent trade deficit and to resolving structural issues in order to improve trade between our countries.
The delegation will now report back to receive guidance on the next steps.