Beijing may offer concessions to avoid trade war with Washington

Beijing may offer concessions to avoid trade war with Washington
China has agreed to give more access to its domestic market to American businesses, the Financial Times reports, quoting Chinese and US officials involved in recent talks.

Beijing is believed to be raising the investment ceiling in the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and will also lift the ban on US beef imports, the newspaper reported.

"China was prepared to (raise the investment ceilings) in the BIT, but those negotiations were put on hold (after Trump's election victory)," the FT wrote citing a Chinese official involved in the talks.

“Had Obama been in office for another six months we would have gotten there,” he said.

China will also reportedly end a ban on US beef imports introduced in 2003, which will go some way in reducing the $347 billion annual trade surplus with its biggest trading partner, the United States. China is the largest source of the US trade deficit. 

US President Donald Trump has taken a hard stance on the trade deficit with Beijing, pledging to take “necessary and lawful action" to end trade abuses and create a "level playing field" for US workers.

Some US officials argue the trade deficit may not be that bad.

“It is worth remembering that some of our best years of economic growth have produced our largest trade deficits, while the Great Recession was accompanied by a sharp reduction in the trade deficit,” said Tom Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce and a critic of Trump’s protectionism, as quoted by the newspaper.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to a new 100-day plan for trade negotiations.

Trump tweeted on Saturday “tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade.”