Closing press conference by both China and the U.S. stood canceled as the talks between the two countries began on a less than desirable note. China came in for severe criticism for the trade imbalance by the American Commerce Secretary who said that this was not market influenced.
Ross calls for 'rebalancing' trade and investment
Speaking at the formal talks between China and the U.S., Commerce Secretary Ross started out with a strong stance even in his opening remarks. He highlighted that fact that while exports to China had increased in recent times, imports from China into the U.S. have far outpaced this increase. This has resulted in a whopping $309 billion trade deficit for the U.S., he pointed out. Explaining further, Ross pointed out this cannot be attributed to free market forces and hence there was a clear need to take steps to deal with the issue. He stressed on the need to rebalance trade and investment links with China so that things may be restored to their normal state.
Wang calls for cooperation
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Chinese, Wang called for cooperation between the two countries to resolve the issues. He explained that this was the best way to move forward. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, had supported his stance, saying that the talks could serve as a milestone in the relationship between China and the U.S. However, despite the positive note that Mnuchin appeared to strike, later, it became apparent that things were not smoothly proceeding as desired. Soon after the speeches were done, an email was received by the media indicating that the U.S. officials had canceled their day-end press conference. This email was followed by another from the Chinese officials saying that they too had canceled the media briefing.
Unusual to see such direct criticism from U.S. Officials
The U.S. officials appear to have deviated from the script in a manner of sorts because such direct and open criticism of the Chinese has never been engaged in at similar talks until now. Usually, these events are well thought out and pre-planned to the very speeches that will be made by the officials of either country. The apparent fall out during the talks becomes even more interesting in the context of the rising tensions between the two countries that have been worsened by Trump's pressure on China regarding the North Korea issue.