Lighthizer Calls for Caution on Trade Talks

Mar 1, 2019  | 2 min  | Ep4428

The World Trade Organization ruled this week that China was subsidizing rice and wheat which artificially inflated prices. The decision only adds pressure to ongoing trade negotiations with China.

Hoping for some perspective, Congress called for a progress report from the administration’s chief negotiator.

John Torpy has more.Producer

Investors on both sides of the Pacific breathed a small sigh of relief this week when President Donald Trump delayed placing higher import tariffs on Chinese goods. However, by mid-week, stock markets showed signs of concern, after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wove a cautionary tale on the current state of trade talks with China.

Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative: “"What the President wants is an agreement that, number one, is enforceable but that changes the pattern of practice of forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, large industrial policy subsidies and then a whole variety of of specific impediments to trade and unfair practices in the area of agriculture in the area of services. What we want is fair trade that requires structural change and it has to be enforceable."

 Lighthizer cast doubt on China’s honesty at the negotiating table and said new rules need to be in place for the U.S. to protect its side of any new trade deal.

Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative: "Let me be clear, much still needs to be done both before an agreement is reached and, more importantly, after it is reached, if one is reached.

Almost nine months ago, President Trump leveled the first of what is now $250 billion worth of tariffs on a long list of imported Chinese goods. The move was in retaliation for an alleged mandate that requires the hand-over of technical secrets held by U.S. manufacturers. China retaliated by imposing tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans, placing economic strain on many farmers.

Another round of tariffs, with rates as a high as 25 percent, was to go into effect March 1 on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products. After progress in trade talks last week, including promised purchases of soybeans, President Trump delayed the impending deadline.

For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy

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