US lawmakers welcome Trump-Xi talks on trade

Team Udayavani, Dec 5, 2018, 1:16 PM IST

Washington: Top American lawmakers hailed the positive development between the US and China in trade following talks between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Argentina during which the Communist nation agreed to help reduce the trade imbalance.

The leaders of the world’s largest trading partners struck a temporary truce on Saturday in Buenos Aires, with Trump agreeing to maintain the 10 per cent tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and to defer his original January 1 deadline for raising them further.

In exchange, China agreed it would be willing to purchase a “very substantial” amount of agriculture, energy and other goods from the United States to help reduce the trade imbalance.

China now has 90 days to work with the US to strike a deal on an array of issues, including: the large trade imbalance between the two countries, intellectual property concerns and forced technology transfers China has agreed to buy a large amount of agricultural products from US.

“Maintaining and creating new market access is vital to Iowa farmers. I hear from many Iowans about the importance of standing up to China’s unfair trade practices, and making progress on rebalancing the trade imbalance between our two countries,” said Senator Joni Ernest from Iowa.

“While we are still waiting for more specifics, new purchases of agricultural products will help Iowa farmers and manufacturers,” he said.

Observing that far too many Americans are dying from heroin that has been laced with Chinese fentanyl, Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania applauded Trump for securing an initial commitment from China to crack down on the production of all fentanyl-like drugs.

“Congress should strengthen the administration’s hand in this effort by passing my bipartisan Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act, which punishes countries that fail to implement and enforce internal controls on fentanyl production,” he said.

In an interview to Fox News, Senator Rob Portman described the decisions between US and China on trade as a positive development.

“I think we had a very positive week in trade, let’s be honest. We weren’t sure what was going to happen with the meeting at the G20 between President Trump and President Xi. It turned out to have set up a process,” he said.

This has now become clear that the Chinese are willing to make some concessions early in terms of buying more of US product. Over the longer haul they’re willing to talk about the other issues that have to be talked about, which is more of the structural changes in their relationship and specifically on intellectual property, he said.

However, Democratic Senator Ed Markey was critical of Trump as he alleged that his policies are putting China first.

“We just sent 1 million barrels of US crude oil to China. Rather than helping US small businesses and our consumers, this policy helps Chinese corporations and Big Oil and worsens climate change. Trump’s policies are putting China first, America last,” Markey said.

“Deferring the significant tariff hike that was set to take effect on January 1 will prevent further harm on our economies and our workers,” said US Chamber president and CEO Thomas J Donohue Donohue, at the 11th meeting of the US-China CEO and Former Senior Officials’ Dialogue.

“And it will give our leaders the opportunity to reengage on the key challenges in our relationship. It is imperative that we now come together, seize this moment, and capitalise on the positive exchange between our presidents. Our challenge is to make sure that this is not just a fleeting moment, but instead an inflection point and one that puts us on the path to enduring progress,” he said.

Along with de-escalation, the two countries must meaningfully address the long-simmering tensions that led to the trade war in the first place.

“Subsidies, market access restrictions, forced technology transfer and IP rights violations, and restrictions on digital trade are straining the global trading system and imposing significant costs on the United States and other economies. The United States wants to see permanent solutions that address these problems,” Donohue said.

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