U.S. says China not being truthful about why trade talks stalled

The Trump administration on Monday rebuked China for making statements in recent weeks that it said misrepresented why trade talks between the two nations reached an impasse.

Chinese officials, in public remarks and in a policy paper issued over the weekend, have chosen “to pursue a blame game misrepresenting the nature and history of trade negotiations between the two countries,” said the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Treasury Department in a joint statement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have led Washington’s negotiations with Beijing.

On Sunday, China released a government policy paper that said Washington had scuttled the negotiations, which reached an impasse in May, and said that China wouldn’t shy away from a trade conflict. The U.S. response to China’s policy statement suggests the two sides remain far apart after talks broke down amid accusations from both sides. And yet, the U.S. statement included no mention of new demands, instead reiterating existing calls for China to address what it says are unfair trade practices such as forced technology transfer or intellectual property theft.

The U.S. statement, coming just weeks before a meeting of the heads of the Group of 20 major economies in Tokyo at the end of June, said Washington’s “negotiating positions have been consistent throughout these talks, and China back-pedaled on important elements of what the parties had agreed to.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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