Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 10 News List

US-China talks hint at progress on data centers

Reuters, WASHINGTON

US negotiators locked in trade talks with China are likely to win more access to the country’s cloud computing market than initially expected, but Chinese commitments to curb industrial subsidies are probably going to fall short of US demands, a US Chamber of Commerce official said on Thursday.

In March, media reported that as part of trade negotiations, China would allow US cloud computing companies access to China’s fast-growing market through special Chinese free-trade zones, giving the companies a limited toehold in the world’s second-largest economy.

“We expect greater market access opening than was initially provided by the Chinese in these negotiations, which was through a pilot zone,” Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, told reporters on a conference call.

He said that the lobbying group wants to ensure that US cloud companies are able to get licenses and have management control and guaranteed free flow of data across borders.

“It is not clear we will get as much as we would like in that area, but we’re going to continue to make this an issue that has to be addressed ultimately, if not in the negotiations, then shortly after,” Brilliant said.

The US has been pressing China for sweeping changes to policies that Washington has said encourage theft of American intellectual property and force transfers of US technology to Chinese companies.

Brilliant said that curbing China’s massive subsidies for steel and a host of other industries is a priority for US businesses, but the deal is unlikely to provide a major shift in Beijing’s practices in that area.

“We’re likely to get some language that ... touches on transparency, but we’re not likely to get the commitment that we want eventually from the Chinese in terms of their really cutting back and eliminating subsidy practices,” he said.

Brilliant’s comments came after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin concluded two days of talks in Beijing aimed at ending a 10-month tariff war.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴) is due in Washington next week for another round of talks, which Brilliant said were in the “endgame.”

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