Report: China Official Called U.S. Trade Negotiators a ‘Team of Barking Dogs’

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File
JOHN CARNEY

A former Chinese central banker described U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other U.S. trade negotiators as “a team of barking dogs,” the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

The criticism of the U.S. officials came from Tsinghua University’s economics professor David Li Daokui, a former member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, according to the SCMP report. Li was speaking at Credit Suisse’s Asia Investment Conference in Hong Kong.

Li said the U.S. side was “perceived to be overly aggressive, unnecessarily aggressive by the Chinese general public.”

“You have to show respect. Otherwise it does not work,” Li said.

Li also revealed China’s tactic was to attempt to wait out President Trump’s team by allowing negotiations to stall-out and tariffs to rise.

From the South China Morning Post:

“China was patient, and was not eager to reach a deal in [the period between] May and November” last year, Li said at Credit Suisse’s Asia Investment Conference in Hong Kong, recounting a December 2018 phone call with the Chinese head of state Xi Jinping. “Let’s see who blinks first,” he recalled Xi as saying.

Li also recounted the prediction by Xi that Trump would fail in his attempts to reform U.S. politics and trade deals.

“We are prepared for this new president to create trouble,” Xi said, according to Li. “He is new, from outside political institutions. He does not believe in a lot of things. He will try, but he will be burnt.”

Ambassador Lighthizer is scheduled to travel with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing this week to meet with counterparts in hopes of hammering out a preliminary trade deal within the next two weeks.

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