- Amid escalating trade tensions, a Chinese delegation will travel to the U.S. later this month to discuss trade issues, at the invitation of the U.S. Treasury Department, according to multiple news reports. The exact date of the visit has not been announced.
- This round of talks will be between the U.S. Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs and China's Vice Minister of Commerce. The last round, more than two months ago, took place in Beijing between Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
- Hours before news of the August meeting, China's Ministry of Commerce wrote in a statement, "the two governments should conform to the wishes of enterprises and provide them with a favorable environment and stable expectations."
The next looming tariff date between the U.S. and China is Aug. 23, when each nation will begin collecting 25% duties on $16 billion worth of imports. Meanwhile, tariffs on an additional $200 billion of imports from China are still in flux, with the comment period opening next week. At the earliest, those tariffs would go into effect Aug. 31.
With a flurry of tariff activity approaching at the end of the month, the timing of the meeting between China and the U.S. will be critical in determining how the trade war between the two economic powerhouses proceeds.
If the U.S.-China meeting goes anything like the one between the U.S. and European Union last month, when the two parties agreed to work toward zero tariffs, business importing from and exporting to China may be able to breathe a sigh of relief as the trade war subsides.
But there's no guarantee the meeting will proceed as such. In announcing the late August visit, China's Commerce Ministry said it won't accept "unilateral trade restrictions." Wednesday morning, Donald Trump tweeted "Tariffs are now leading us to great new Trade Deals," signaling he's unwilling to back down on tariffs levied between several U.S. trading partners, the latest being Turkey.
In addition, unlike the U.S.-EU talks, which involved Trump and President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the U.S.-China talks will occur with the U.S. Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs, which has downgraded expectations for the meeting.
With uncertainty continuing to surround trade relations, the best course of action for businesses is to be proactive in assessing risks versus benefits of expanding productions outside the U.S., Steve Bowen, chairman and CEO of Maine Pointe, wrote in a bulletin.
"The current tension involves the world’s three biggest economies – the US, China and the EU – and it’s too big to ignore," Bowen wrote.