Dec 22, 2018

Reading the China trade talk tea leaves

Another round of face-to-face US-China trade talks is expected in mid-January.

What I'm hearing: China's top economic policymaker Liu He may be coming to D.C. for the January discussions. So far the Chinese side has not offered any detailed concessions that come close to meeting the expectations out of the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina but that may change now that the Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) has set the economic priorities for 2019.

The statement from the CEWC specifically said:

"We will implement the consensus of the meeting in Argentina between the China and US heads of states, and we will advance China-US trade negotiations [要落实阿根廷中美元首会晤共识,推进中美经贸磋商。]

Optimistic take: The Chinese side is serious about making significant structural changes to open its economy more to and level the playing field for foreign firms, in effect using the US demands to deepen long promised domestic reforms.

Pessimistic take: The Chinese side has no intention of agreeing to most of the US demands for structural changes and instead will try to buy time with promises of more headline purchase deals and vague and unenforceable commitments to deeper changes; i.e. business as usual.

The wildcard: How badly does President Trump want a deal? Do not be surprised if he is willing to overrule his more hawkish advisors to settle for a deal that has happy headlines but falls far short of some of the structural changes the US is demanding.

  • The Chinese will be more than happy with such an outcome, as their goal is to reduce frictions while buying as much time as possible to capitalize on a shifting global environment, as described in the work conference statement:
China is still and will be in an important period of strategic opportunity for development for a long time to come.
The world is facing unprecedented changes in a century, bringing both challenges and opportunities,

Go deeper: Eswar Prasad on China Is Willing to Make a Deal and Brad Setser on China's November Trade and the U.S. Trade Data from October

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 710,918 — Total deaths: 33,551 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 135,499 — Total deaths: 2,381 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health