China is considering plans to delay some targets in its strategy to dominate high-end technologies and to put more focus on shaping industry standards, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Beijing may postpone some aspects of its ambitious industrial programme by a decade to 2035, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The programme that Chinese officials call “Made in China 2025”, which cites advancements in robotics, aerospace and renewable energy, has been one of the main targets in US President Donald Trump’s trade war.
Trump launched the tit-for-tat tariff dispute with China this year in order to balance trade and give American firms increased access to the world’s second largest economy.
It’s not clear how much, if any, of China’s proposal on revising the Made in 2025 plan has been communicated to the Trump administration, and Beijing hasn’t made a final decision, the people said.
A White House official said the Trump administration doesn’t have an update on trade talks with Beijing. Trump has raised Chinese President Xi Jinping unfair policies and practices that hinder American access to Chinese markets, and is pushing for China to take concrete steps to free up competition, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Wednesday on China’s plans to give foreign companies greater access to its economy and that it was drafting a replacement to its Made in 2025 program, citing sources briefed on the strategy.
Stocks rallied globally on the improved outlook for US-China trade, with US equities gaining after the Journal story.
A less aggressive technology plan could address concerns raised by the Trump administration that Beijing unfairly subsidises Chinese companies and steals American intellectual property. US trade representative Robert Lighthizer has been tasked with negotiating a deal focused on technology issues by 1 March.
President Xi’s government has taken steps this week to soothe the US, including a plan to cut tariffs on US cars to 15% from 40%. China also intends to resume purchases of American soybeans soon, according to Chinese government officials. China said last week it would deepen reforms in the area of science and technology and put more effort into protecting intellectual property rights.
But US officials have been sceptical about China’s willingness to back down from its global technology ambitions. While China has been playing down Made in China 2025 since trade tensions flared, it’s been pushing ahead undaunted with its state-driven industrial policies, Lighthizer’s office said in a report last month.
China launched the plan in 2015, with the goal of becoming an advanced manufacturing leader within a decade. The initiative aims to develop local expertise in research and development and reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign technology. It targets 10 emerging sectors, including robotics, clean-energy vehicles and biotechnology. — (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP