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            may 26, 2018

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China-US complete 100-day plan


The US and China have concluded a 100-day plan after the two-day summit at Mar-a-Lago that aims to improve strained trade relations and strengthen cooperation between two countries, reported the Shanghai Daily.
Commenting on the plan, founder of the Difference Group Dan Steinbock, who has also served as the research director at the India, China, and America Institute (USA), said in an article published by the Shanghai Daily:
"If the plan fails to offer major breakthroughs after the summer, [US President Donald] Trump's trade hawks may resurface and deficit rhetoric could escalate again," said Mr Steinbock.
"As the Trump administration must fight for its political survival, even as it would like to implement bold reforms, it seeks short-term wins to foster confidence," said Mr Steinbock.
"If the 100-day plan could generate significant results, it has potential to take the bilateral ties on a new level."
Looking back at US-China trade talks over the past three decades, Mr Steinbock noted that the "US trade stance has shifted from one that used to be multilateral and inclusive to one that is increasingly bilateral and assertive. These policy stances can be condensed into three scenarios.
"In the multilateral scenario, Washington would pursue multilateral trade agreements that include China - expansion of the WTO's Information Technology Agreement concluded; the tariff-focused Environmental Goods Agreement; China's negotiations to join the WTO's procurement agreement; US efforts at a Trade in Services Agreement.
"This scenario is more typical to US administrations in the early days of China's reforms and opening-up policies, when the mainland's economic might was still marginal.
"In the bilateral scenario, the US would intensify bilateral negotiations with China to liberalise trade through high-level bilateral dialogues, such as the US-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue and the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), while seeking to complete the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
"This is perhaps the scenario that former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, pushed in the second term of President George W Bush. It rested on the idea that commercial interests also bring about political and strategic benefits.
"In the assertive scenario, the US would take a more aggressive stand against China (dispute settlement cases against China in the WTO; threats of trade sanctions; greater use of US trade remedy laws, including antidumping and countervailing measures).
"In one way or another, the Obama administration adopted this scenario as it seized the WTO option and flirted with trade sanctions. In turn, the Trump administration initially also threatened to exploit aggressively US trade remedy laws against China.
"In brief, there is more continuity between Obama and Trump than the Democrats would like to acknowledge," Mr Steinbock said.

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