It appears to be just the latest misstep in a drawn-out negotiation between the United States and China. And it suggests that, despite descriptions of progress by American officials, a protracted trade war that has rocked global markets and clamped down on trade between the world’s two largest economies is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Beijing continues to push for the United States to remove the tariffs it has placed on $250 billion worth of Chinese products up front and let China carry out changes to its intellectual property laws and other regulations more gradually, people with knowledge of the talks say. The Trump administration has insisted that its tariffs remain while China makes the promised changes, but it is also eager to find a solution where China will move ahead with large purchases of agricultural goods.
Negotiators from the two countries are continuing to work toward a deal, and large-scale purchases could still happen. On Tuesday, Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with China’s vice premier, Liu He, and its commerce minister, Zhong Shan, to continue talks, according to a senior administration official.
In a statement on Wednesday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said the two sides “exchanged views on implementing the consensus reached in Osaka” by Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi.
American officials also said on Tuesday that they were already going ahead with part of what Mr. Trump described as his concession: relaxing a ban on Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that the United States cut off from buying American technology amid national security concerns. The administration will issue licenses for American companies that want to do business with Huawei “where there is no threat to national security,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
The United States has moved to cut the company off from access to American suppliers by placing it on the so-called entity list, which restricts sales of American technology for national security reasons. But companies can apply for licenses to sell specific products, circumventing the ban.
It remains unclear exactly which types of products could be exempted. The American technology industry has been lobbying the administration, saying the restrictions could cut it off from a valuable source of revenue. The ability to continue selling to Huawei could offer a reprieve to American companies like Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom and Google, which sell Huawei microchips, software and other specialized parts that go into its smartphones and telecom equipment.
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