It has been a few months since we last discussed the current trade dispute between the United States and China, and while progress has been made, we are not near the finish line quite yet. Since our last posting, we have witnessed the United States allow a deadline on a tariff increase to lapse with no action and trade representatives meeting regularly. Meanwhile we have seen a President who is looking for a substantial “win” on the international stage to simply walk away from negotiations with North Korea, as a result both sides are treading carefully, unwilling to claim “victory” until it is all but certain.
Now I know what you must be asking, “so what is the deal with the interesting title to this post?” Well during the latest round of talks in Washington, the group broke for lunch and Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative, ordered chicken and eggplant, a well-known Chinese dish, whereas China’s Vice-Premier and Top Economic Official, Liu He, enjoyed a juicy all-American hamburger. So if culinary choice is any indication, then the horses have reached the final turn and “down the stretch they come….” Only if it was that simple.
While a great deal of progress has been achieved, and both sides are in constant contact in hopes of finalizing a deal before President Trump and Xi Jinping’s scheduled meeting in Mar-a-Lago, it appears that such a deal may not be reached until April at the earliest. Among the most contentious issues yet to be resolved include an enforcement mechanism to ensure both sides meet their commitments, issues involving industrial subsidies, forced transfer of technology from western companies to China, and the theft of US intellectual property. Additional sticking points involve China’s perceived currency manipulation, and China’s intentions on securing a complete elimination of the $250 billion tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration.
While we are not out of the woods quite yet, negotiations are progressing, and there appears to be and end in sight. So while the horses have yet to reach the final turn, they are well out of the starting gate.
We will continue to keep our customers abreast of the situation and will report any news when it becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to our staff with any questions. As always, we look forward to exceeding your expectations.