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China and US will continue trade talks in Washington next week … RTRS February 15, 2019 at 01:10PM

China and US will continue trade talks in Washington next week … RTRS

 

China and US will continue high-stakes trade talks in Washington next week

* Chinese President Xi Jinping says he hopes the two sides will be able to reach a mutually beneficial deal in the upcoming negotiations.

* U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during the meeting that they maintain hope although there is still much work to be
done.

* U.S. duties on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if no deal is reached by March 1.

Reuters

Talks between China and the United States this week made important progress, President Xi Jinping told top U.S. trade negotiators on Friday, adding that efforts would continue
in Washington next week to resolve their bruising trade war.

The White House later confirmed the next round of talks, while saying this week’s negotiations in China “led to progress between the two parties.”

But there was a cautionary note from the White House, as well: “Much work remains, however.”

Xi met U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin after a full week of trade negotiations at senior and deputy levels in Beijing, and called for a deal both sides could
accept, state media said.

U.S. duties on $200 billion worth of imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if no deal is reached by March 1 to address U.S. demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better
enforce intellectual property rights.

After the conclusion of talks, which included a banquet on Thursday, Mnuchin said on Twitter that he and Lighthizer had held “productive meetings” with Xi’s top economic adviser, Vice Premier Liu He.

“The consultations between the two sides’ teams achieved important step-by-step progress,” Xi said, according to state television.

“Next week, both sides will meet again in Washington. I hope you will continue efforts to advance reaching a mutually beneficial, win-win agreement,” Xi said during a meeting at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

He added that China was willing to take a “cooperative approach” to settling bilateral trade frictions.

Lighthizer told Xi the senior officials had “two very good days” of talks.

“We feel that we have made headway on very, very important, and very difficult issues. We have additional work to do but we are hopeful,” Lighthizer said, according to a foreign media pool video.

Neither country has yet offered new details on how the world’s two largest economies might de-escalate the tariff war that has roiled financial markets and disrupted manufacturing supply chains.

Although U.S. President Donald Trump said this week that an extension of the tariff deadline was possible if a “real deal” was close, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, has said the White
House had made no such decision.

But several sources informed about the meetings told Reuters there was little indication negotiators had made major progress on sticking points to pave the way for a potential meeting between Xi and Trump in coming
weeks to hammer out a deal.

“Stalemate on the important stuff,” said one of the sources, all of whom requested anonymity because the talks are confidential.

“There’s still a lot of distance between parties on structural and enforcement issues,” said a second source. “I wouldn’t quite call it hitting a wall, but it’s not a field of dreams either.”

A third source told Reuters the White House was “irate” over earlier reports that the Trump administration was considering a 60-day extension of the tariff deadline.

Lighthizer and Mnuchin left their Beijing hotel on Friday afternoon without taking questions from reporters.

‘Sleight of hand’

Reuters reported earlier that in recent meetings China has pledged to make its industrial subsidy programs compliant with World Trade Organization rules and end those that distort markets, but had offered no details
of how it will do so.

The offer has been met with scepticism from U.S. negotiators, in part because China has long refused to disclose its subsidies.

And some in U.S. industry have been unimpressed with the extent of other reported Chinese offers to address U.S. concerns, such as Beijing’s proposal to hike purchases of U.S. semiconductors to $200 billion over
six years.

John Neuffer, president and chief executive of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), told Reuters the offer would be “akin to an accounting sleight of hand” and “an attempt to rearrange our supply chains
and drive them deeper into China”.

Neuffer added, “We are confident U.S. government negotiators will wisely dismiss this offer and continue pushing for meaningful reforms that create a fair and level playing field for U.S. companies doing business
in China.”

The proposal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was part of a “recycled” package of goods purchase offers that Beijing first presented in the spring of 2018, a source told Reuters.

Many U.S. lawmakers and business groups have urged Trump in recent weeks not to settle for a deal based largely on increased Chinese purchases of farm and energy commodities.

Trump has said he did not expect to meet Xi before March 1, but White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has raised the possibility of a meeting between the leaders at the president’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.

China has long denied Washington’s accusations of trade abuses, and it has retaliated to U.S. tariffs with its own duties on American goods.

Some trade experts say China appears focused on securing a Xi-Trump meeting, in the hope that it would make a near-term deal to limit or reduce tariffs more likely.

Read the full White House statement:

This week, at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, officials from the United States traveled to Beijing to continue negotiations on the trade relationship between the United States and China. On the United
States side, the talks were led by Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative, and the Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury. On the Chinese side, the talks were led by Vice Premier Liu He. On Friday, both
delegations had the opportunity to meet with President Xi Jinping regarding their discussions. The talks also featured extensive technical exchanges between the professional staffs of both countries.

These detailed and intensive discussions led to progress between the two parties. Much work remains, however. Both sides will continue working on all outstanding issues in advance of the March 1, 2019, deadline
for an increase in the 10 percent tariff on certain imported Chinese goods. United States and Chinese officials have agreed that any commitments will be stated in a Memoranda of Understanding between the two countries.

During the talks, the United States delegation focused on structural issues, including forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, cyber theft, agriculture, services, non-tariff barriers, and currency.
The two sides also discussed China’s purchases of United States goods and services intended to reduce the United States’ large and persistent bilateral trade deficit with China.

Next week, discussions will continue in Washington at the ministerial and vice-ministerial levels. The United States looks forward to these further talks and hopes to see additional progress.

 

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