President Donald Trump spoke last week with reporters as he prepared to send officials to Beijing for trade negotiations. He says China may delay an agreement until after the 2020 presidential election because “they would prefer to reach a deal with a Democrat.” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in China this week for the first high-level negotiations since the talks broke down back in May. Bloomberg says officials will cover a wide range of issues this week, including intellectual property, agriculture, and trade imbalance.
Trump met with Chinese President Xi at the G-20 in Japan last month and reached a tentative truce in their trade war which has stretched out over the last year. After the G-20, the two leaders of the world’s largest economies directed their officials to resume negotiations. Bloomberg says the gap between the two countries may be widening as both Trump and Xi are facing pressure to resist key demands from the other side. The big sticking point from China’s perspective is the U.S. keeping the tariffs in place until Beijing actually implements some of the reforms the U.S. is looking for. However, it’s politically not likely that Xi will sign a deal that doesn’t immediately lift the U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said this in a statement ahead of the meetings on Tuesday:
“We wholly support the Administration’s efforts to stop unfair trade practices by China. Now, it’s time to write the next chapter in our trade relationship by eliminating tariff barriers.
“American agriculture can compete with anyone in the world on a level playing field. I hope this week’s talks create that opportunity.”