U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last weekend agreed on a 90-day trade war truce. Analysts, however, warned that the timeline is nowhere close to long enough to change China. The analysts reported that the ninety days are inadequate to enable the two countries to settle their differences on key issues.
Progress on intellectual property protection may be possible during the period. However, some expectations for significant Chinese concessions in other areas are sure to be disillusioned. They include the reform of state-owned enterprises.
The U.S. demands for China to enact the economic reforms are long-standing. The White House official communiqué stated that negotiations on the pending matters would commence immediately. Such issues include structural changes concerning forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, and intellectual property protection. The talks will also touch on cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services, and agriculture.
China is currently putting together a delegation of up to thirty delegates. They will be sent to Washington later this month for the talks. Nonetheless, 90 days in trade negotiations barely equal the blink of an eye. These complex and layered talks often drag on for years.
“The most extreme example is the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, which dragged on for more than twelve years, and failed,” stated Stephen Olson, a research fellow at the Hinrich Foundation based in Hong Kong. He argued that even with close partners like the U.S. and Canada, the Free Trade Agreement still took almost two years.
Therefore, the 90-day grace period for U.S.-China talks seems impossible to secure consensus on the weighted issues on the table.
Clyde & Co. lawyer Papageorgiou also agreed that the 90-day talks are wildly optimistic in regards to the possible achievements. The version of the trade war is good news, but anything short of the expected results may prove to be catastrophic to both nations.
China has not publicized the talks as much as the U.S. has. This leads many to wonder if the agreement was just a strategy for both sides to buy more time.