Trade row: US and China want to talk

The US and China are making a fresh attempt to settle their trade dispute. A US delegation will be in Beijing for talks on Monday and Tuesday. Who is hardest hit by the trade war: Beijing, Washington or uninvolved third parties?

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Le Monde (FR) /

Trump could capitulate once again

The president's tough rhetoric could help China, Arnaud Leparmentier, Le Monde's US correspondent explains:

“The US president sometimes resembles one of those loud-mouthed all-star wrestlers who throw in the towel as soon as they get a scare. That's what he did when he signed a revamped version of the free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, and when he backed down on imposing new tariffs on car imports from Europe. Not out of goodwill but because he faced a rebellion in his own party and by the US car lobby. Since his election the US president has measured his policies in the light of developments on Wall Street. If stock prices drop again due to fears over what China will do next, Trump could try to push through a ramshackle deal with Beijing. But such an agreement, based on bitterness and defiance, would only represent a temporary truce.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it

Trump seems to be shooting himself in the foot in the trade war with China, La Libre Belgique comments:

“The US budget deficit has reached a new ten-year high, growth is slowing, the dollar is growing stronger, the stock markets are worried, the prospects for manufacturing are growing bleaker, and while commensurate, Chinese retaliation is no less painful. ... Nevertheless despite panic on the stock markets Donald Trump is carrying on as if nothing had changed. He believes the Chinese are in dire straits. That said, in light of the shutdown and developments on Wall Street and at giants like Apple, the US won't exactly be in a position of strength at the negotiating table. Can Trump, who is doing all he can to sink his adversary's ship, save himself from drowning?”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Beijing under pressure

There has never been a more opportune moment to force China to respect the rules of free trade, Rzeczpospolita believes:

“Not so very long ago concessions on the part of President Xi Jinping seemed out of the question because they would pose a threat to his system of 'state capitalism', in which there is no place for an independent judiciary or free competition. Now, however, it looks very much as if the 'paramount leader' is in a tight spot. The Chinese economy is like a bicycle: it has to move fast or it keels over. ... The White House is threatening to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on all imports of Chinese goods if no agreement is reached in the next two months. That could put a considerable wrench in the works of China's development.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Slump in China reverberates across the world

The poor economic data from China leads De Standaard to voice concern about the economic ties with the country:

“When winter comes to China's economy, it also gets frosty for the rest of the world. For over the last 20 years the Chinese economy has become more and more interlinked with the global economy. ... At the beginning of the century China's share of world trade was around seven percent. Today, China is the second largest economy in the world and its share has risen to 19 percent. There are hardly any industrial products that are not (at least partially) produced in China.”