START with the good news from the trade negotiations between China and America. After weeks of threatening tariffs and counter-tariffs, representatives from the world’s two biggest economies are at last talking. Over two days of meetings in Beijing, which ended on May 4th, Chinese and American officials laid out their grievances and their demands. That, unfortunately, is where the good news ends. The positions that both sides took were so extreme and contradictory that compromise appears a remote prospect. What, until now, has largely been a war of words could easily careen into a full-fledged trade war.
Publicly, the two countries put a positive gloss on the outcome. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, described the talks as candid and constructive. It noted that they had agreed on some issues and recognised their “considerable differences” on others. On the evening the talks closed, President Donald Trump tweeted a sentiment that, by his standards, was sympathetic: “it is...Continue reading