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Xi-Trump meeting unlikely to end trade war with both sides unwilling to make compromises: analyst
A high-ranking official from China’s Ministry of Commerce called on China and the US to hold trade talks on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, ahead of a possible meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit.

Wang Shouwen, the vice minister of commerce, said at a recent press meeting that he hoped China and the US could move together in the same direction on the basis of mutual respect and benefit and finally find out ways to solve problems. He added that Xi had reached an important consensus with Trump in their previous phone conversation, following which trade negotiation teams on both sides maintained close contact.

The US has reportedly sent positive signals, with Trump telling the media that he’s fully prepared for the meeting and will probably reach agreement with China.

The 13th G20 summit is to be held between November 30 and December 1 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the shadow of China-US trade frictions. It’s widely reported Trump is to host a dinner for Xi at the summit, and it’s highly anticipated the first meeting between the two sides since July would bring a trade war “truce”.

But the Office of the US Trade Representative once again accused China of “not altering its unfair trade practices” and “continuing a state-backed campaign of intellectual property and technology theft” on November 20.

Despite that, Trump seems optimistic about reaching an agreement with China. Trump has said “China wants to make a deal very badly” due to tariff reasons, and “if we can make a deal, we will,” according to media reports.

Since July, the Trump administration has announced to impose tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and threatened to raise tariffs to 25 percent from the current 10 percent on $200 billion Chinese goods and start to tax all the remaining Chinse imports to the US.

Meanwhile, it’s learned that Xi has got a tight schedule for the trip. According to China’s Foreign Affair Ministry, he is to visit Spain, Argentina, Panama and Portugal between November 27 and December 5, besides attending the G20 summit. The time of Xi-Trump meeting has not been officially announced.

Analysts believe there is little possibility of the meeting being canceled considering both parties have made it clear they’re prepared for it. However, it will also not be easy for the meeting to reach a deal.   
Shi Yinhong, professor of International Relations at the Renmin University of China, told Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao that all the signs indicated that China was unwilling to make big concessions over issues of top concerns to the US.

“Although China has made 142 concessions over trade issues due to kindness, the US feels it’s not enough. They demand China to stop alleged intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and for the Chinese government to stop subsidizing domestic enterprises,” he said, adding the US has also reiterated it needs implementation of commitments rather than just commitments.

In Shi’s view, a ceasefire agreement would entail big concessions on the Chinese side, and that would have an effect on the country’s industrial policies. “And China also knows that even if they give in, the Trump government would soon put forward very strict new requirements,” he said.   


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