U.S., EU, Japan need concerted, coordinated action to take on China’s trade practices

On Tuesday, top trade officials from the European Union, the United States, and Japan are set to huddle in Washington to address non-market-oriented trade policies and subsidies by China.

According to a spokesman from USTR, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who met with his Japanese counterpart, Hiroshi Kajiyama, on Monday, is set to meet EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan on Thursday for bilateral talks.

The meetings comes a day before Wednesday’s signing of the Phase I trade agreement between the United States and China.

On Monday, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a think-tank, had urged all three countries to abandon their recent bilateral, non-World Trade Organization measures against one another and instead focus on building a concerted response to China’s dangerous mercantilist practices.

“Without aggressive, coordinated action, leading economies in Europe, Asia and North America are likely to face a crushing wave of unfair competition – and have fewer jobs as a result,” wrote the group in a report that was released Monday.

The report goes on to read “Once a nation or region loses an advanced industry to China, it will be virtually impossible to resurrect.”

According to experts and top economists, although the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal is a positive step, it leaves many significant areas unresolved, including China’s subsidies for state-owned firms, digital trade and cybersecurity.

It is not clear if the phase 2 talks will make any headway before the 2020 U.S. presidential election in November.

Although the European Union and Japan share many concerns voiced by the U.S., including China’s behavior in global markets, they have been forced to go defensive since Trump has imposed tariffs on them as well.

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