Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is in Beijing this weekend trying make progress on trade demands that the U.S. and China are making of each other.
For the United States, the focus alternates at times between narrowing the trade deficit, cracking down on China’s state backing of high-tech sectors, and protecting the intellectual property of U.S.companies.
For Beijing, the top priority is to persuade the U.S. administration to back off harsh penalties on Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, ease threats to impose hefty tariffs on Chinese goods and reduce export restrictions.
“The gap is wide and deep” between China’s state-run economic model and the free market principles of other countries, William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said last month after a U.S. delegation wrapped up two days of trade talks in Beijing. “This will not be reconciled in one or two days.”
Here’s what each side wants:
Buy more U.S. goods
— Ross will try to get China to agree to long-term contracts to buy U.S. products like agricultural materials as pat of an effort to cut China‘s trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion by 2020.
— The White House also wants China to approve access to its market generally and specifically for U.S. agriculture as well as services and services suppliers.