The Trump administration has become increasingly concerned about the progress of a trade deal with China, amid an unexpected reshuffling of the Chinese negotiating team and a lack of progress on core issues since the G20 summit in Japan, such as the purchasing of agricultural products, US officials and senior Republicans told the Washington Post.
China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan participated in the latest trade discussions with the US, although he did not directly participate in first 11 rounds of trade negotiations, reported the South China Morning Post.
China has also yet to make a purchase of US agricultural products which had been discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka, Japan. Trump told his trade team Tuesday secure the new Chinese orders for soybeans and wheat, but Zhong and Liu He offered no specific commitments, leaving negotiations at a virtual standstill, said a White House official.
At a press conference in Beijing, asked why Zhong was on board, Gao Feng, the Ministry’s spokesman, said it was “quite normal” as “the [Commerce] Ministry is in charge of trade negotiations.” Gao did not explain why Zhong had not directly taken part in the previous rounds of meetings between US and Chinese trade negotiators.