US, China to restart trade talks in Shanghai
BEIJING United States trade negotiators return to China this week for a fresh round of talks in a new city, but experts warn a change of air is unlikely to quickly solve an impasse between the world's two biggest economies.
The meetings in Shanghai tomorrow and on Wednesday will be the first face-to-face discussions since negotiations collapsed in May. Washington and Beijing have so far hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than US$360 billion (S$493 billion) in two-way trade in the tense stand-off.
Despite an agreement by US President Donald Trump and China's Mr Xi Jinping at the G20 in Japan to cease hostilities, there has been little progress - and the former has irritated the Chinese side by claiming the slowing economy is forcing them to make a trade deal.
The dispute has centred on Washington's demands that Beijing curb the alleged theft of American technology and provide a level-playing field for US companies in China.
Mr Trump has also angered China by blacklisting telecom giant Huawei over national security concerns.
"Basically China tried to take this as a pure economic affair and just wants to make a deal, but on the US side it seems... (they) try to connect the trade affairs with a strategic rivalry," said Professor Wang Chuanxing at Tongji University.
"The common ground is that both of the sides want to strike a deal, so this is very important."
Holding talks in Shanghai is also a nod to a time of better relations, as the home of the 1972 Shanghai Communique - an important step in building diplomatic relations between the US and China.
"There's a significance to (China) of the Shanghai Communique and the symbolism obviously of that important agreement," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC, adding that he would take the invite to Shanghai as "good news that we will be making progress next week".- AFP