John Denton: "China does not know what the US wants"

Despite the truce in the US-China trade war, and although Donald Trump claims that an agreement is near, there is a global protectionist trend, says John Denton, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, the world's leading private organization for the promotion of international trade.

According to him, the current debate on the restructuring of the World Trade Organization (WTO) goes well beyond protectionism and should address issues such as the digital economy. "If the WTO [restructuring] fails, its relevance will be challenged." Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Trump has announced that he is close to striking a deal with China. Will the truce in the trade war lead to the end of the conflict?

There is an assumption that the US knows exactly what it wants. Which means that the US has a clear vision of what to do. But one of the reasons we look at various scenarios is that the US strategy is unclear. China does not know what exactly is demanded of them. Yes, the US wants changes in the regime that prevents American companies from investing in China, but it also wants changes in the way China supports state-owned companies. Is alleviating trade barriers enough, or will the US demand a full redefinition of intellectual property? It's hard to say if the war is really cooling down. What we can say is that the temperature is not rising.

Read more in Istoé