Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators are in contact on ways of resolving disputes ahead of an expected meeting between their heads of state at the G-20 summit in Japan later this week, a Chinese official said Monday.
The sides were seeking to “consolidate the important consensus reached between the two leaders” in a telephone call last week, Wang Shouwen, a Commerce Ministry vice minister, told reporters. Wang gave no details about specific issues under discussion.
This weekend’s G-20 meeting in Osaka is the first opportunity presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have had to thrash out the trade dispute face-to-face since Trump said he was preparing to target the $300 billion in Chinese imports that he hasn’t already hit with tariffs, extending them to everything China ships to the United States.
Trump has already imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and China has retaliated with tariffs on U.S. goods.
The sides are now in a stalemate after 11 rounds of talks that have failed to overcome U.S. concerns over China’s acquisition of American technology and its massive trade surplus. China denies forcing U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets and says the surplus is much smaller than it appears once the trade in services and the value extracted by U.S. companies are taken into account.
Stepping up the pressure on Beijing, the U.S. Commerce Department has effectively barred U.S. companies from selling or transferring technology to Huawei Technologies, the world’s biggest maker of network gear, No. 2 smartphone manufacturer and a champion of Chinese industry.
Washington claims Huawei poses a national security threat because it may be beholden to China’s ruling Communist Party. However, American officials have presented no evidence of any Huawei equipment serving as intentional conduits for espionage by Beijing.
Huawei’s placement on the U.S. government’s Entity List is widely seen as intended to persuade resistant U.S. allies in Europe to exclude Huawei equipment from their next-generation wireless networks, known as 5G.
China has responded by saying it would issue a list of “unreliable entities” targeting companies that “violated market principles” and cut supplies of components to Chinese businesses for non-commercial reasons.
Beijing has also suggested it might limit exports of rare earths, minerals such as lithium that are used in many products including cellphones, electric vehicles and the batteries that run them.