U.S., China Set to Finish Trade Talks Mnuchin Calls `Productive’

The President said that it would be an "honour" to withdraw these tariffs if a deal with Beijing is reached.

The US has said it will increase tariff rates on $200bn worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% if the two sides do not strike a deal by 1 March.

The two sides are working towards a Memorandum of Understanding to detail their commitments ahead of a potential meeting between Trump and Xi.

China's economic growth past year slowed to 6.6 percent, weighed down by rising borrowing costs and a clampdown on riskier lending that starved smaller, private companies of capital and stifled investment. The dispute spread to include Chinese technology plans, cyberspying and the countries' lopsided trade balance. The analysts surveyed by Reuters projected China's trade surplus to have narrowed to $33.5 billion from $57.06 billion in December.

Beijing has offered to boost its purchases of United States goods but is widely expected to resist calls for major changes to its industrial policies such as slashing government subsidies.

American officials accuse Beijing of seeking global industrial predominance through an array of unfair trade practices, including the "theft" of American intellectual property and massive state intervention in commodities markets.

"They feel that it is humiliating for China if another country does this", he said.

There was no indication whether negotiators made progress on the thorniest dispute: USA pressure on Beijing to scale back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global leaders in robotics and other technologies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and other aides joined by phone.

The People's Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that Xi's meeting with U.S. negotiators had affirmed progress made in previous talks and "injected new impetus into the next stage of the development of Sino-U.S. trade relations".

While American and Chinese negotiators continue talks in Beijing, both countries are setting up for another potential faceoff in Europe. "Much work remains, however", Sanders said about the Beijing talks. Deputy-level officials started talks on Monday.

And of course, the details of any trade deals will also be important to determine whether we are back in a free trade regime, or a permanent shift toward trade protection has taken place.

Exports to the United States sank 2.4 percent to $36.4 billion, squeezed by Trump's tariff hikes.

Beijing has tried to deflect pressure by emphasizing China's growth as an export market.

The United States accuses China of a range of unfair practices, including erecting myriad barriers to accessing its market and systemic theft of USA intellectual property.

But any buying spree would have to rely heavily on the Chinese state-owned firms which Washington is battling to sideline.

The U.S. and China are in disagreement over U.S. charges that China steals U.S. technology and forces American companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to China's markets. Trump said last week they plan to meet, but not before the March 1 deadline.

Trump indicated this week he was open to extending a trade truce beyond March 1 depending on progress in Beijing, Bloomberg News reported citing sources.

Exports to the USA declined 2.4 percent year-on-year, while imports fell 41.2 percent.

Other possible sites include Beijing or Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where the two met in April 2017, the US news website Axios reported, citing Trump administration officials.

The FBI recently said it is investigating Chinese economic espionage across the USA while the Justice Department is leading a name, shame and prosecute campaign against Chinese spying and theft. "It would be a awful cost for American consumers and a bad hit to the global economy".

  • Eleanor Harrison