Trade frictions raise questions about China’s fentanyl promise


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has pledged to stem a flood of the synthetic opioid fentanyl onto America’s streets, where it kills thousands of people a month, but U.S. security experts are skeptical about whether Beijing is willing, or even able, to follow through.

Ten current and former U.S. officials, congressional sources and China and trade experts told Reuters in interviews that China cooperates only when it believes it will get something in return.

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In this case, several said, Beijing appears to have offered its help so that it could get the best deal possible from Washington in trade negotiations.

Will they enforce this, or is this just another gesture to be used to secure something they want?I think they would hope to leverage it in some meaningful way in the context of trade talks,

said Robin Cleveland, vice chair of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which monitors the national security impact of bilateral trade and economic ties.

Those trade talks ran into trouble this week with China backtracking on earlier commitments to change its laws in key areas, including intellectual property rights, trade secrets, forced technology transfers, access to financial services and currency manipulation, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. government and private-sector sources.

U.S. President Donald Trump responded to China by vowing to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent on Friday.

Unless resolved in a new round of negotiations, the mounting tensions over trade could derail China’s cooperation on fentanyl.

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