With the US’s deadline for increasing tariffs on $ 200 billion of imported Chinese goods swiftly approaching, a Chinese delegation has arrived in the US to begin another round of trade talks on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
What will be, by the FT’s count, the seventh round of talks since the trade tensions between the two countries first exploded into tit-for-tat tariffs nearly a year ago, will take place in Washington DC. Just like last week’s talks in Beijing, lower-level trade officials will begin preliminary talks on Tuesday, while the top trade officials will meet beginning on Thursday.
The talks follow a round of negotiations that ended in Beijing last week without a deal but which officials said had generated progress on contentious issues between the world’s two largest economies.
China Vice Premier Liu He will arrive in Washington for trade talks on Feb. 21 and 22. Higher level talks by US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer will begin on Thursday. It’s believed that the talks will focus on the “structural changes” to China’s economy, which have become a key area of contention for the two sides, while China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of goods from the US will also be in focus.
The White House said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro would also participate in the talks. Trump, who hinted last week that the deadline could be extended, said that the talks had been fruitful.
“We’re making a lot of progress. Nobody expected this was going to be happening,” Trump said.
If the talks fail, or the Trump administration refuses to extend the deadline, tariffs on a large swath of Chinese goods will rise from 10% to 25%. As of last week, the two sides were said to be close to a “memorandum of understanding” that would serve as a broad framework for a deal, but conflicting reports have proliferated.
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