White House confirms US-China trade talks starting Thursday

Asia Business
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WASHINGTON: Top US officials will welcome a high-ranking Chinese delegation starting Thursday (Oct 10) for the latest round of trade talks aimed at easing tensions between the world’s two largest economies, the White House confirmed on Monday.

“The two sides will look to build on the deputy-level talks of the past weeks. Topics of discussion will include forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, and enforcement,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Beijing’s top trade envoy Liu He will meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the talks.

Lower-level talks have been underway since last month.

READ: US-China deputy-level trade talks get underway in tense atmosphere

US President Donald Trump has waged a two-year effort to change China’s trade, intellectual property and industrial policy practices, which he has long said are unfair and have cost millions of US jobs.

His administration is seeking stronger protections of US intellectual property, an end to forced transfers of American technology to Chinese firms, curbs to industrial subsidies and increased access to China’s largely closed domestic markets.

In a trade war that has lasted 15 months, the United States and China have heaped hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs.

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US President Donald Trump said on Friday there was a “very good chance” the two sides will strike a deal.

“We have had good moments with China and bad moments with China,” he said. “What we’re doing is we’re negotiating a very tough deal. If the deal is not going to be 100 per cent for us we aren’t going to make it.”

Washington and Beijing are due to continue raising tariffs on each other’s exports through the end of the year, however.

Trump in recent months has claimed that China’s weakening economy puts Beijing under pressure to make a deal. But he also said Chinese officials are dragging their feet in hopes of continuing negotiations with another administration should Trump fail to win reelection in 2020.

China also has been dragged into the impeachment inquiry by congressional Democrats, after Trump last week openly called on Beijing to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, whom Trump accused of unspecified financial improprieties in China and Ukraine.

READ: Beijing likely to pass on Trump’s invitation to probe Bidens, China experts say

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