Will the trade war ever end? Potential late March Trump-Xi meeting would likely extend talks
13 February, 2019, 07:11
China's economy already has shown signs of slowing, while the trade war has shaken the confidence of United States businesses, as retaliatory tariffs have raised prices and helped choke off a key export market.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer arrived in Beijing on Tuesday ahead of high-level trade talks scheduled this week for the world's two largest economies to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline. But the two sides are only just starting the work of drafting a common document and are still tussling over how a deal may be enforced, which US officials have repeatedly called a crucial element.
"I think they're making progress and my hope is that by March 1 there will be enough progress to be made that at a minimum, there could be a delay in the imposition of additional tariffs", Portman told reporters.
Trump indicated that he'll wait and see what will come of the ministerial meeting that's starting on Thursday in Beijing.
If a deal is not reached by the beginning of next month then Washington is set to more than double tariffs on 200 billion dollars-worth of Chinese imports. "I could see myself letting that slide for a little while", Trump said at the White House. China will likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of USA goods that it announced previous year in retaliation.
A growing number of US businesses and lawmakers have expressed hopes for a delay in the tariff increase while the two sides tackle the hard USA demands for major "structural" policy changes by China aimed at ending the forced transfer of American trade secrets, curbing Beijing's industrial subsidies and enforcing intellectual property rights.
These include accusations of intellectual property theft and forcing American companies to share their technology with Chinese firms.
"The key is whether the US and China can find common ground", said He Weiwen, a former commerce ministry official and now a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, an independent research group.
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