American promise of advance on trade talks

World | REUTERS 25 Apr 2019

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for trade talks beginning on April 30.

And Vice Premier Liu He, who leads the talks for China, will also travel to Washington for more discussions starting on May 8.

A message from the White House was that "the subjects of next week's discussions will cover trade issues including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases and enforcement."

Beijing and Washington are seeking a deal to end a trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that have cost the two largest economies billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and rattled financial markets.

According to Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, the two nations were making progress in the talks and he was "cautiously optimistic" about prospects for a deal. "We're not there yet, but we've made a heck of a lot of progress," he claimed, adding that they were closer than anything that had gone before in US-China trade.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was not so sweeping at a briefing in Beijing. He would not even confirm dates for the next round of talks, though he did point out the two sides were maintaining contact. "The trade negotiations between China and the United States have already achieved tangible progress," he said.

Washington wants Beijing to give ground on various issues, ranging from reducing industrial subsidies to halting forced technology transfers by US firms entering the Chinese market.

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