US-China trade talks end with no breakthrough

Members of the Chinese trade delegation leave the US Treasury building after two days of talks with US representatives in Washington DC on Thursday, August 23. (AFP)
Updated 24 August 2018
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US-China trade talks end with no breakthrough

  • The delegations ‘exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance and reciprocity in the economic relationship’
  • The US-China talks this week were the first since discussions in June failed to produce any agreement

WASHINGTON: US and Chinese negotiators ended two days of meetings Thursday without breaking a deadlock over trade that has unnerved financial markets and disrupted global commerce.
The delegations “exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance and reciprocity in the economic relationship,” Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement. She did not mention further talks.
A Chinese Commerce Ministry statement said the talks were “constructive and frank” but gave no details. It said the two sides would “maintain contact.”
The dispute over China’s high-tech industrial policy escalated Thursday as the Trump administration and Beijing imposed taxes on an additional $16 billion of each other’s goods. The administration last month had slapped tariffs on an initial $34 billion in Chinese products, and Beijing responded in kind.
The Trump team is preparing tariffs on $200 billion more of Chinese products, and China has vowed to counterpunch by targeting $60 billion in American goods.
The US-China talks this week were the first since discussions in June failed to produce any agreement.
The Trump administration accuses China of using predatory tactics to obtain American technology, including forcing US companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.


Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

Updated 18 June 2019
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Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

  • The PM said cabinet ministers need to be united and responsible
  • Lebanon’s debt is almost 150% of its GDP

BEIRUT, June 18 : Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri on Tuesday called for parliament to quickly approve the country’s 2019 budget and urged his coalition government to avoid internal disputes.
The cabinet this month agreed a budget plan that shrinks the projected fiscal deficit by 4 percentage points from last year to 7.6% by cutting spending and raising taxes and other fees.
“What I want during the debate is for us to be responsible and united, and not contradictory,” Hariri said in a statement, addressing cabinet ministers as to their comportment during the parliament debate.
Parliament’s finance committee is debating the draft budget and has suggested amendments, local newspapers reported. It will then put the budget to the full assembly to ratify it.
Parliament is mostly composed of parties that are also present in the coalition government and which supported the budget there.
Since the budget was agreed there have been fierce arguments between parties in the coalition over several subjects, though these have not targeted the budget.
Lebanon has one of the world’s heaviest debt burdens, equivalent to about 150% of GDP, and the International Monetary Fund has urged it to cut spending.
“We have held 19 cabinet meetings to agree on this draft budget and these sessions were not for fun, but for deep, detailed debate over every clause and every idea,” Hariri said.
“For this reason, I consider it the responsibility of each of us in government to have ministerial solidarity...to defend in parliament the decision that we have taken together,” he added.
After the 2019 budget is agreed, the cabinet must quickly start working on the 2020 budget and on approving the first phase of a program of investments toward which foreign donors have offered $11 billion in project financing. (Reporting by Angus McDowall, editing by Ed Osmond)