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October 31, 2019 @ 17:00 +03:00
Chinese officials are casting doubts about reaching a comprehensive long-term trade deal with the U.S. even as the two sides get close to signing a “phase one” agreement. In private conversations with visitors to Beijing and other interlocutors in recent weeks, Chinese officials have warned they won’t budge on the thorniest issues, according to people familiar with the matter. They remain concerned about President Donald Trump’s impulsive nature and the risk he may back out of even the limited deal both sides say they want to sign in the coming weeks.
Chinese policy makers are gathered in Beijing for a key political meeting that’s set to conclude on Thursday. In meetings ahead of that plenum some officials have relayed low expectations that future negotiations could result in anything meaningful — unless the U.S. is willing to roll back more of the tariffs. In some cases, they’ve urged American visitors to carry that very message back to Washington, the people said.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera threw up another hurdle when he announced Wednesday that the country had canceled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Nov. 16-17 — where Trump and China’s Xi Jinping hoped to meet — because of social unrest in the country. U.S. stocks futures and government bond yields declined. The people familiar with China’s position said the tariffs don’t all have to be removed immediately, but they must be part of the next stage. China also wants Trump to cancel a new wave of import taxes due to take effect Dec. 15 on American consumer favorites such as smartphones and toys as part of the phase one deal, the people said.