Mr. Trump has a lot riding on the trade talks with China. Just like the border wall fiasco, Trump is itching for a victory in trade talk negotiations. But the Chinese are in no hurry to give Trump a complete win. China will bend on a few issues, but in China, no one tells the government how to run its communist show. It’s safe to say the China trade talks are another lesson in how totally unaware Trump is when it comes to dealing with other countries.
The trade talks cover a variety of issues between the two countries. Tariffs are one issue, buying more U.S. products is another. And protecting U.S. intellectual property is a serious concern for chief U.S. negotiator Bob Lighthizer and his team. Lighthizer is a veteran negotiator. His team did make some progress but there is still a lot of mud in the negotiating water, according to the Washington Post. Some of that mud is compliments of President Trump.
Mr. Trump tried to act like he knew how to work with the Chinese. But when the president asked Bob Lighthizer what memorandums of agreement were in the trade talks, the head Chinese negotiator laughed at Trump. Memorandums of agreement are part of the trade talk process. They represent the issues both parties agree on. But Trump made Lighthizer change the name to contracts of agreement because he liked the way that sounded better than memorandums of agreements.
The Chinese did offer the U.S. a bone when the government promised a new intellectual property law that would protect foreign companies that do business in China. The Chinese call the new law the Foreign Investment Law. The foreign business community in China thinks the new law is a step in the right direction. But it doesn’t cover all the issues that can develop if the Chinese government wants to take action against a U.S. company, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in China. China first proposed the law in 2015, but it suddenly resurfaced in December in order to appease Donald Trump.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China believes the law lacks important details, and the language in the law is vague. The law doesn’t prohibit the government from protecting Chinese companies so they have an advantage over U.S. companies. And there’s a clause in the law that states the government can confiscate investments and stop businesses from operating in China if there are national security concerns without saying what those concerns are.