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MNI EXCLUSIVE: China Won't Cede On Key Trade Issues: Advisors

By Wanxia Lin
     BEIJING (MNI) - China will not fully acquiesce to key U.S. trade demands in
areas such as intellectual property rights protection, making a comprehensive
settlement to the two nations' dispute unlikely despite an interim agreement
expected in the near future, government advisors told MNI.
     "China and the U.S. will not be able to compromise when it comes to
substantial issues," said Shi Yinhong, a professor at the School of
International Studies, Renmin University of China, adding that the best prospect
for the removal of tariffs imposed during the dispute would come if there were a
threat of a recession before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, prompting
Washington to make concessions.
     China's Ministry of Commerce says that an agreement in principle had been
reached on a so-called "phase one" deal with the U.S. But more detailed
subsequent talks will run into trouble as China will not fully agree to U.S.
demands regarding intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer,
subsidies of state-owned enterprises or its Made in China 2025 plan to boost
production of high-technology goods, Shi said.
     The advisor also cast doubt on claims by U.S. President Donald Trump that
China could buy up to $40 billion to $50 billion of American agricultural
products a year, noting that the peak for Chinese imports of U.S. farm goods was
$29 billion in 2013.
     "China does not have this huge market demand for doubling imports," Shi
said, adding that even the ravages of African Swine Fever, which has devasted
China's pig herds, boosting demand for imported pork, would not be sufficient to
push purchases that high.
     Success in second-round talks will require the U.S. to remove all tariffs
imposed since the dispute began in 2018, said Huo Jianguo, a former head of the
Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is
affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce. In the meantime, the phase one deal is
very likely soon, Huo told MNI on Sunday.
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email:
--MNI London Bureau; +44 203 865 3829; email:
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