Trade talks between China and the US 'stalled' - reports
Hopes that the US and China are close to striking a crucial phase one trade deal have weakened, according to reports, after the White House appeared to back protestors in Hong Kong.
Representatives from Beijing and Washington are currently discussing an initial deal which, if secured, will halt a fresh round of US tariffs being imposed on $156.0bn-worth of Chinese goods on 15 December.
The deal had initially been expected in November. But last week hopes were growing that both sides were close to agreement.
However, according to American news website Axios, citing an unnamed source “close” to US president Donald Trump, talks have now stalled. The stumbling block is the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which was signed into law by Trump last week. The Act gives Washington power to revoke the territory’s special trade status with the US should it decide Hong Kong is no longer independent enough of Beijing.
Hong Kong's status means that it is currently unaffected by any sanctions and tariffs placed on the mainland.
The move has infuriated Beijing, which accused the US of backing violent criminals and of violating international law.
China’s Global Times then reported on Sunday that Beijing now wanted more from the phase one deal, including the removal of existing tariffs. The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party.
According to Reuters, citing “people close to the White House”, a deal is now no longer expected until the new year. It is thought the imposition of tariffs on 15 December will, nevertheless, be delayed, Axios said, to keep the talks alive.
Negotiators are unable to move onto the most ambitious and contentious phase two deal until the first deal is agreed.