Trade Talks

The People’s Republic of China wants to slow-walk these negotiations in the expectation that their delay will get them better terms.

Beijing, while wanting to appear willing to negotiate, thinks it can extract better terms by not hurrying into concessions, according to Chinese experts and others briefed on the talks.

The PRC’s attitude, though, seems counterproductive.

Since negotiations faltered in May, Chinese officials have said that for any eventual trade deal, the US must be reasonable about the amount of goods China can purchase and must remove all the tariffs placed on Chinese exports in the dispute.

“Being reasonable:” we can remove tariffs when the PRC stops subsidizing its domestic production to yield artificially low prices on its exports.  We can remove tariffs when the PRC stops stealing our intellectual property and technologies and stops extorting technology transfers as a condition of doing business with/in the PRC.  We don’t have to sell anything to the PRC, and the PRC doesn’t have to purchase anything from us.  They constitute a very large market, to be sure, but what’s the value of that market when they’re just going to rip us off with those practices?  And then threaten us and our allies and friends militarily and politically—and economically—with the result of those thefts?

But sure, the PRC can go slow. After all, the longer the PRC stalls, the more time there will be for producers to move their PRC production facilities to other, cheaper and more flexible venues.  The longer the PRC stall, the more time there will be for sellers—like our farmers—to sell into markets other than the PRC.

The longer the PRC stalls, the more time there will be for its economy to slow.

The longer the PRC stalls, the more PRC governance failures—Hong Kong, PRC concentration camps for Uighurs, overt threats against the Republic of China, seizure and occupation of other nations’ South China Sea islands and of the Sea itself are just a few—will dominate the public discourse, exposing PRC government “trustworthiness.”

And the harder the terms from the US will become.

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