A steady mix of progress and stumbling blocks in the U.S.-China sparring.
More positive news has arisen for the U.S. in its trade war with China, even as other developments cloud the situation.
A new report says that China is shelving its Made in 2025 economic plan, an aggressive track that would push for Chinese dominance in areas such as manufacturing and technology. Much like President Trump’s tariffs, the plan had received plenty of disdain from world leaders.
Instead, the Wall Street Journal reported, China will increase access for foreign companies, leveling the playing field for those businesses, as well as state-owned and private Chinese firms. It had originally planned to give domestic businesses a leg up with subsidies.
Trump has pushed China for a more fair system that doesn’t advance Chinese interests at the expense of American companies.
This news comes after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed during the G-20 summit in Argentina to delay the next round of tariffs. Trump said he will hold off on his plan to raise all of the previously implemented tariffs to 25 percent on Jan. 1. He also will not impose duties on the remaining $200 billion in Chinese imports.
China has committed to purchasing American agricultural products. Farmers, particularly growers of soybeans, were hit hard by the loss of the Chinese market as the trade war between the U.S. and China grew.
China also said it would reduce the tariffs it implemented on American automobiles imported into its country. China raised that rate to 40 percent during the ever-escalating tariffs this year, but Bloomberg reports China has a proposal on the table to cut that number to 15 percent — the same rate paid by other nations.
Although good news abounds in the trade war, the New York Times points out the Trump administration is still wary of China, given that U.S. authorities have traced a recent data breach at Marriott to state-sponsored Chinese hackers.
The hackers allegedly stole passport numbers for as many as 327 million people who have stayed at Starwood-owned hotels.
Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer at CrowdStrike, told the Times the method is called “big-data hovering.”
“This data is all going back to a data lake that can be used for counterintelligence, recruiting new assets, anti-corruption campaigns or future targeting of individuals or organizations,” he said.
Critics worry such government-sponsored spying against American companies makes it unlikely that a trade deal between the two nations will change China’s behavior.
But the Trump administration could increase pressure related to the hacking.
That could include the indictment of Chinese hackers, the declassification of intelligence reports describing information-gathering practices, and an executive order that would make it harder for Chinese companies to obtain critical components for telecommunications equipment,” the Times wrote.
Another possible stumbling block to trade peace is the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Chinese communications corporation Huawei. Wanzhou was detained in Canada on allegations of fraud stemming from violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Although the Department of Justice coordinated with Canadian authorities to stop Wanzhou before she boarded a plane in Vancouver, Trump said he may intervene in the case if it will help push through a trade deal with China.
“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump told Reuters.