US Rejects Chinese Offer For Preparatory Trade Talks; Stocks Slide

This is the last thing investors worried about slowing growth in China wanted to see.

Stocks took another leg lower Tuesday afternoon after the Financial Times reported that the US had effectively canceled the next round of US-China trade talks, which were expected to take place between senior officials. The talks were expected to set the table for a visit by a delegation led by China's Liu He later this month. The report also calls into question President Trump's rosy outlook on the trade talks.

This week’s planned trip by Wang Shouwen and Liao Min was intended to pave the way for a higher-level meeting in Washington on January 30 and 31 by Liu He, China vice-premier, and Robert Lighthizer, US trade representative.  But, according to people briefed on the negotiations, US officials cancelled this week’s face-to-face meetings with Mr Wang, a vice-minister of commerce, and Mr Liao, a vice-minister of finance, because of a lack of progress on “forced” technology transfers and potentially far-reaching “structural” reforms to China’s economy. 

The US refused the offer because Beijing has refused to offer concrete proposals about how they would curb IP theft and also implement certain structural reforms.

Trump’s negotiators wanted Mr Liao, one of Mr Liu’s closest aides, and Mr Wang to come to face-to-face talks in Washington with a written offer outlining how Beijing intended to address US complaints about technology transfers and structural reforms.

But, according to the people briefed on the stalemate, Mr Xi’s negotiators are refusing to alter their long-standing position that foreign companies are not forced to transfer technology to Chinese companies.

They also argue that Beijing’s recent offer to improve market access for foreign investors in certain sectors — and strengthen protection of intellectual property — should address US concerns.

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Gary Anderson 2 months ago Contributor's comment

IP theft is what this is all about. That is why it is unlikely that there will be any agreement and the world economy will tumble. I hope I am wrong, but only if Trump blinks.