US-China trade talks resume in Shanghai as global economic headwinds start to bite

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a delegation of negotiators in Shanghai today to discuss the ongoing trade war

lightzier chinan

Photo: Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a delegation of negotiators in Shanghai today to discuss the ongoing trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Momentum for a sweeping trade deal, similar to the one chalked up earlier in May, has dwindled due to a laundry list of disagreements between the two powerhouses. It is believed that the more modest goal of lifting certain tariffs or bans in exchange for greater economic cooperation will top the agenda.

Mr Lighthizer has indicated that he will incentivise China to change laws on intellectual property and curb state subsidies to businesses. In return, the US would consider dropping some tariffs on agricultural products. While rejected in the past, this proposal may fit the bill now, as both parties have expressed the need to pave a path forward.

Despite this, China sees the proximity of the US election and the volatility of the US stock market as a vantage point and will likely consider pushing back any deal until after the 2020 election, with the hope of a new administration on the other side of the table.

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