U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer concluded another round of trade talks with their Chinese counterparts last week in Beijing. Much of this round centered on how to handle key structural issues surrounding technology transfer and data storage.
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On March 14, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin shared with reporters that the Trump-Xi summit, originally scheduled for late March, would be pushed back because American and Chinese trade negotiators are still working to address unspecified issues. The Wall Street Journal reported on March 19 that negotiators are hoping to finalize a deal by late April.
On Jan. 31, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom formally announced the establishment of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a Special Purpose Vehicle dedicated to facilitating trade between European economic actors and Iran. The creation of INSTEX by the three countries—known as the E3—followed months of negotiations in the wake of the United States’s 2018 exit from the Iran nuclear deal.
Amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, China has fast-tracked a piece of legislation that serves as its most immediate answer to U.S. concerns regarding Chinese state-directed economic policies and barriers to market access. The draft Foreign Investment Law intends to reform China’s foreign investment regime; its vague provisions, however, will have more far-reaching national security implications for the United States.
In January 2019, France, Germany, and Britain announced the creation of a new payment-processing system designed to keep alive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran deal.
The Trump administration’s effort to protect the security of fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks by limiting the deployment of Chinese technology both domestically and globally melds trade policy with cybersecurity policy. On both counts, it should not be considered sufficient.
Last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in the latest in a series of high-level conversations designed to de-escalate trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The vice premier, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, has a reputation as an economic reformer interested in liberalizing China’s economy, which provides some hope that the parties will finally resolve the simmering trade war.
The last weeks of 2018 have precipitated significant developments in the so-called trade wars between the United States and its trading partners. Yet the recent agreements made and signed did little to advance efforts toward greater cooperation on the “three-digit sagas”—the tit-for-tat tariff battles occurring under statutory delegations known by their three-digit references, such as Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
This is the fourth post in a series. Read the first three parts here, here and here.