US and China 'miles and miles' from reaching trade deal, says Wilbur Ross

Business | 25 Jan 2019 12:06 pm

The United States and China are "miles and miles” from resolving trade issues but there is a fair chance the two countries will get a deal, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday, Reuters reports.

A 30-member Chinese delegation plans to come to Washington next week for talks, he said, as the world’s two largest economies try to meet a March 1 deadline to resolve their trade disputes, but Ross tried to tamp down expectations for the high-level talks.

"There is a very large group coming. There’s been a lot of anticipatory work done but we’re miles and miles from getting a resolution and frankly that shouldn’t be too surprising,” Ross said in an interview with CNBC.

"Trade is very complicated, there’s lots and lots of issues - not just how many soybeans and how much LNG.”

More important, he said, were the structural reforms that Washington believes are needed in the Chinese economy, as well as enforcement mechanisms for failure to adhere to whatever is agreed to.

Ross said the two sides were unlikely to resolve all their disputes in next week’s talks, but added, "I think there’s a fair chance we do get to a deal.”

Ross’ comments fed lingering stock market anxieties about damaging economic fallout from the U.S.-China trade fight, helping to keep the Dow Jones Industrial Average in negative territory and limit gains in other indexes.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was somewhat more upbeat on Thursday, saying that the United States and China were "making a lot of progress” in the talks, but he did not elaborate on areas where that progress could be seen.

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