American Priorities and Chinese Principles

We know that since Trump was sworn in over the past two and a half years, the US has been pushing its ideas and priorities to the rest of the world. Although the Government is not currently verbalizing this will, nature remains the same. And what are these priorities then? It is about ensuring that US interests prevail, and those of other countries should be left in the background. As long as American interests are safeguarded, those of other countries can be neglected. However, Trump did not get the reaction he expected when he tried to implement such ideology. Despite the US president's willingness to stand out from the crowd and the unilateralist attitude, the consequences were opposite, with several countries beginning to turn their backs on the US. These countries are not only those that usually go against the American will, but also some of their allies. The main reason for this is because the country does not keep its word. The US government and the president are constantly changing claims and promises, and the rest of the world is already getting tired of it. It was in this context that the US started a trade war against China, ignoring the Chinese, American and the rest of the world's interests. However the country remains inconsistent, with the Trump Government breaking agreements with China during past negotiations. This is the second time that dialogues have resumed between the two countries, causing the US to lose credibility in China. Both times it was Trump who called Beijing to request renegotiations, but in a third time China will call the shots.

Following the meeting between the presidents of both countries in Osaka, Trump announced that he would lift the sanctions imposed on Chinese company Huawei and tariffs on Chinese imports. The two sides talked for more than 10 days, and on the evening of the 9th of July, Vice President Liu He, who was in charge of the financial negotiations, met with Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative, and Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the United States Treasury, where they discussed ways to implement the consensus they reached in Osaka. Then, on July 11, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce shared that, according to the demands of the two countries defined during this meeting in Japan, trade and economic discussions between the two countries should continue based on mutual respect and equality.

The reason why this whole situation was prolonged seems to be that China has decided to wait for the US to show a real willingness to continue with these dialogues. For more than 10 days, although the US has not removed Huawei from the blacklisted, it has suspended a previous embargo on the company and the US Government has suspended tariffs on 110 types of imports of Chinese products such as medical equipment and electronics. But what does all this mean? China merely waited while the US backed off, and if the American side had continued to impose its will, perhaps the dialogue would have stayed interrupted. This time China announced that it would resume negotiations, responding to US demands as follows: Chinese demands have to be properly addressed, otherwise no outcome will emerge from these dialogues.

By May 16, Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, had already highlighted three major priorities on the Chinese side: first, the cancellation of all extra import duties; second, trade in both countries must remain realistic, as agreed in Argentina, without changing arbitrarily; Finally, the agreement must be drafted in a balanced language, maintaining the dignity of both countries. As a matter of principle, China will never give in. These are the three points that must be followed when negotiations are resumed. The White House recently announced that it will be finalizing details to ease sanctions on Huawei. So, everything indicates that negotiations are progressing in a positive direction.

* Senior Editor