U.S.-China Trade Talks Restart as Singapore Calls the Rivalry ‘Awkward’

November 15, 2018, 1:41 PM UTC

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the economic rivalry between the U.S. and China—otherwise known as the ongoing trade war— has become “awkward” for countries that don’t want to pick sides, said the Associated Press.

At a news conference, Loong said that it’s “easier not to take sides when everyone is on the same side.”

The two major economic powers are trying, according to China’s Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng, the AP reported. Since a November 1 phone call between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, the “work team is maintaining close contact to earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state,” Feng said.

Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet later this month at a G20 meeting in Argentina.

Currently, the U.S. has imposed extra tariffs on $250 billion in imports from China. China responded with charges on $110 billion on U.S. exports, but the ongoing trade imbalance gives the country limited leverage. Exports of goods and services are 19.7% of the Chinese economy, according to the CIA. And China’s own figures say that the U.S. is the destination for 20% of its exports. That ultimately means 4% of China’s GDP is dependent on what the U.S. buys. Slow that process and the country takes a significant hit at a time when its growth has slowed to a low point since the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Not that the U.S. is faring well from the economic conflict. About 9% of China’s total imports come from the U.S. The Tax Foundation estimates that the conflict will cost the U.S. more than $30 billion, or 0.12%, in GDP, more than 94,000 full-time jobs, and 0.08% in wages.

Some estimates put the global GDP impact of the trade war at 1.4% at least, CNBC reported.