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US, China Launch High-Level Trade Talks Amid Deep Differences

US, China Launch High-Level Trade Talks Amid Deep Differences

At the head of a 30-person delegation from Beijing, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He greeted his counterpart, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, against the backdrop of Washington's prosecution of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which has outraged Beijing and infused the negotiations with uncertainty.

In another tweet on Thursday, Trump warned that a trade deal with China would be unacceptable unless Beijing opened its markets to U.S. financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and other industries. If confirmed that would be right around the time Trump is slated to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for nuclear talks.

USA and Chinese diplomats are scheduled Thursday to conclude two days of talks aimed at a deal to avert an increase in US tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China by a March 2 deadline.

Early Thursday, Trump tweeted about the discussions, saying that "meetings are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides".

The president seemed optimistic the two-day meeting would help de-escalate the trade dispute between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump, a self-described "Tariff Man", rejected a previous proposal from Beijing to resolve the dispute with increased purchases of USA goods. "I don't know. But the Chinese have certainly signaled that they're willing to make structural reforms".

The Republican president set a high bar for any agreement in the current round of talks, writing on Twitter, "China's representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table".

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

Trump said on Twitter he was looking for China to open its markets "not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other USA businesses and industries".

"We hear rumblings or rumors there are some offers (by the Chinese delegation to Washington) around IP (intellectual property) enforcement, around the other sensitive issues".




Trump and Liu - China's vice premier and Xi's top economic advisor - are expected to meet while the Chinese delegation is in Washington.

This is the second round of talks since Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in Argentina previous year and agreed to negotiate in the hope of defusing an escalating tariff war.

Trump, who has engaged in a series of fights with a variety of trade partners since becoming president in 2017, has acted as the final decision-maker in USA trade negotiations.

They're coming to the White House for a meeting with Trump on Thursday afternoon. "All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved", he wrote.

Trade experts say China has begun to crack down on intellectual property theft as well as the forced transfer of technology.

"China will not accept all demands by the USA and make full concessions".

The administration has already imposed tariffs on some $250 billion in Chinese imports.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to temper expectations for any quick breakthrough in the talks, telling CNBC last week that the two sides are "miles and miles from getting a resolution".

Unless a deal is reached by March 1, the United States has threatened to raise tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

United States officials insist that the Huawei case is entirely separate from the trade negotiations. Beijing retaliated with levies on $110 billion in United States goods.

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