U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (C) chats with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (L) during a photo session after their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, June 3, 2018. /VCG photo
If we look at the joint statement released by Washington in mid-May, we may understand that the trade imbalance, market access and alleged Chinese abuse of intellectual property are the areas that both sides are most concerned about.
The U.S.economy is supported by 10 years of deleveraging since the financial crisis in 2008 and affected by the financial and monetary policies of the administration. When the economic performance is strong, the U.S. wants to see a bilateral agreement in its favor.
After tariffs on Chinese exports worth 250 billion U.S. dollars, the costs for consumers and companies in the U.S. have increased, and the uncertainty in market expectation has done harm to both economies. Given this, it is only understandable that the U.S. wants to resolve these issues through the ongoing trade talks.
Moreover, China is becoming one of the most important consumer markets in the world which U.S. companies definitely don't want to miss out on. There are quite a lot of competitors ready to fill the gap if American companies leave.
The U.S. wants to maintain its stronghold in the Chinese market in at least three ways. First, that exported American products get equal treatment or enjoy even more preferable access. Second, that U.S. companies can invest in more areas that suit their interests, especially in some service sectors, as a result of the Chinese government reducing restrictions or requirements on market access. Third, that the intellectual property rights of the U.S. companies are better protected when cooperating with their Chinese counterparts.