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  November 6th, 2017 | Written by

Trump in China: Is He Prepared for Trade Talks?

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  • Business group worries Trump unprepared for trade talks with China.
  • Report: Not enough advance work has been done for Trump's visit to China.
  • US refuses to recognize China as a market economy.

A US business group in China is worried that President Donald Trump is coming to China for talks without being sufficiently prepared.

William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China stated that not enough advance work has been done for the visit, Reuters has reported.

A keystone of Trump’s economic policy is to address imbalances in bilateral economic relationships, especially with China, but lower-level officials has not come to China to negotiate outcomes in advance of Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Zarit.

“From what I understand, there really hasn’t been much of that for this visit, which makes us a bit concerned that there may not be much discussion on the structural issues,” Zarit told reporters in Beijing.

Trump left for Asia last Friday and is due to land in Beijing on Wednesday, November 8.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is bringing a business delegation to Beijing during Trump’s visit. Zarit is worried that deals announced on the trip under Ross’s auspices would distract from finding solutions to US issues with China’s trade policies, including discrimination and restrictions to market access.

Zarit hopes business wins “do not overshadow the real need for structural changes in the economic relationship.”

Trump and Xi launched a 100-day economic plan during Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago in April. That plan resulted in promises for greater access for US beef exports in China but not much more.

US tech firms have complained that access to China is often conditioned on entering joint ventures with state-owned Chinese companies and/or turning over intellectual property to Chinese counterparts.

The Chinese object to the US refusal to recognize China as a market economy. One result is that the US Commerce Department uses an alternative country approach to calculate the prices and costs of Chinese exports when making antidumping duty determinations.

A recent report from Commerce detailed the department’s conclusions that China is not a market economy. A recent determination from the department, hitting Chinese imports of aluminum foil with preliminary antidumping duties used the alternative country approach, over the objections of the Chinese government.