Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday his country would move to reduce auto tariffs this year and work harder to protect U.S. intellectual property rights, two key complaints that have led the U.S. and China to the brink of a trade war, reports The Washington Examiner.
In a speech to business leaders in China, Xi promised to “significantly lower” tariffs on auto imports, and ease restrictions on foreign ownership of the auto industry “as soon as possible,” according to the Associated Press.
And on IPR, Xi said he would encourage “normal technological exchange” and would “protect the lawful ownership rights of foreign enterprises.”
It’s not clear how quickly China can move on these two issues, especially intellectual property rights. The U.S. has battled unsuccessfully with China for decades to stop the piracy of billions of dollars’ worth of movies, music and other creative content.
China has also required many foreign companies to produce goods in China in order to access its market, which many see as a way to force the import of innovative products.
Still, his comments are a sign that at least for now, President Trump’s tough talk on China has created an opening for a dialogue that could result in an improved trade relationship with China.
Last week, the Trump administration unveiled plans to impose tariffs on 1,300 Chinese products, worth about $50 billion a year in imports to the United States. It characterized those tariffs as a penalty for Beijing’s forcing American companies to hand over technology to gain entry to China’s market.
Within hours of this move, Beijing counterpunched with similar plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft. Then, Trump ordered the U.S. trade representative to consider another $100 billion in Chinese imports to tax, AP reports.
Thank goodness we have Trump in times when negotiating with a strong hand is needed to help make America grow and prosper especially when it comes to the economy, which Trump has already shown he is capable of doing.