Trump upbeat on U.S.-China trade meetings

01 February, 2019, 00:12 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • US and China launch trade talks amid differences over economic reforms

President Donald Trump expressed optimism about forging a comprehensive trade accord with China as high-level talks continued on Thursday, but said any arrangement that fails to open Chinese markets broadly to USA industry and agriculture would be unacceptable.

President Donald Trump signalled on Wednesday that United States trade talks with China are going well but said a final agreement will not be reached until he meets his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping.

The U.S. and China - the world's largest economies - engaged in a bitter tariff fight previous year over a number of issues including the their bilateral trade imbalance, alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese firms and Beijing's industrial subsidies that put American firms at a disadvantage.

To stop an escalating trade war, both sides declared a 90-day halt on tariffs on December 1, 2018, at the end of a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina.

Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion of goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 2 if an agreement can not be reached.

"Let me just remind people, we do have another 30 days after this so my expectation is we'll make significant progress at these meetings, but I would just emphasize these are complicated issues", Mr Mnuchin said.

"China's representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table".

He stressed however, that no decision would be made until he met his counterpart President Xi "to discuss and agree on some of the long-standing and more hard points".

Trump stated in a tweet that he wanted Beijing open the Chinese markets not only to financial services but also to "Manufacturing, Farmers and other USA businesses and industries". A uniformed U.S. Secret Service officer was injured as an unnamed individual was arrested for attempting to "impede the progress" of the Chinese delegation's motorcade near the White House.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Liu later in the day.

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Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs affect most countries, including China, with the notable exceptions of Argentina and Australia.

Liu is expected to meet Trump on Thursday, US time.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week that the USA and China are "miles and miles" away from a deal as he noted in a CNBC interview that the nations have "lots and lots of issues" to discuss.

On March 2, the Trump administration is scheduled to escalate its tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Among the priorities in the current talks are protection of U.S. intellectual property, the forced transfer of USA technology through joint ventures, and enforcement mechanisms to verify that China follows through on any promised changes.

"The Chinese will keep talking", David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. Treasury official, told the Associated Press.

Among several other headline criticisms, the USA is pushing for structural reforms to China's trade framework and the role of the state sector, which many experts believe will be a step too far for Beijing.

Last week, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the two sides remained "miles and miles" apart.

As part of the standoff between the world's two biggest economies, Washington imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports.

A little over three years ago, Beijing launched a strategic plan dubbed "Made in China 2025" that aimed to make the nation the global leader in aerospace, robotics, artificial intelligence, new-generation autos and other areas - sectors United States officials say now represent the "crown jewels" of American technology and innovation.

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