Brief Note on the Trade Shootout
It is no surprise to anyone familiar with Chinese thinking on foreign policy or negotiating practice that China is balking at changing its laws to reflect what the American negotiators apparently thought had been previously agreed. From the Reuters article -
In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.
One can marvel at American stupidity, if that is what is involved; or simply invoke the negotiating principle that no items are agreed to until all items are agreed to. One can call it Chinese perfidy, but that would simply imply that the Americans are so uninformed about Chinese negotiating tactics that they should not be in the same room with their counterparties at all. To paraphrase Harold Washington on politics, trade negotiations ain't beanbag.
So let's get past the propaganda and posturing. This below is what no negotiating is going to change. It is at the heart of some American thinking on the trade battle.