Trade Update (September 10)
Congress returns this week (Sep. 9-13) from its August recess. Below, CHCG highlights the latest in China-US trade talks and the latest on the USMCA as the fall session begins.
China/US Announce Next Face-to-Face Talks
China is determined to make progress to resolve the trade war with the United States when negotiators next meet face-to-face in early October. The news stems from a phone conversation this past week between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the country’s top trade official, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer. The conversation was the first amongst the trio since talks broke down on August 13. China’s Ministry of Commerce said both sides agreed to make concrete efforts to create positive conditions for future dialogue, stating “On the basis of full preparation by the working groups of both sides, efforts striving for substantive progress will be made in the 13th round of China-U.S. high-level economic and trade consultations in early October,” ministry spokesperson Gao Feng told reporters. The intent for a solution to the trade war comes after the US imposed tariffs on Chinese imports of roughly $110 billion this past Sunday (Sep. 1).
USMCA Moving Forward?
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) could be inching toward the finish line. USTR Lighthizer told Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Friday (Sep. 6) that he anticipates seeing progress in September on the deal when lawmakers return from August recess. “He expects September to be the big month of working everything out with the House of Representatives to satisfy the Democrats and even hopefully get labor unions on board,” the Iowa Republican told reporters today during a regular press call. “Then when that’s done, I think it moves pretty quickly.” The Trump administration hoped the trade deal would be a done deal this past summer, but congressional lawmakers, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have been bullish on certain provisions of the deal. Those provisions include labor standards, environmental standards, enforcement, and access to medicines. Lawmakers will just 13 legislative days before another two-week recess in early October.
 Ng, Teddy. Wu, Wendy. Wang, Orange. “Trade war: Chinese and US negotiators agree to meet in early October.” South China Morning Post. Politico Pro. 5 Sep. 2019. https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2019/09/trade-war-chinese-and-us-negotiators-agree-to-meet-in-early-october-1706435
 Cassella, Megan. “Grassley: Lighthizer expects USMCA progress in September.” Politico Pro. 3 Sep. 2019. https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2019/09/grassley-lighthizer-expects-usmca-progress-in-september-3779883