Beijing – Chinese and US negotiators are focusing this week on drawing a broad outline of a trade agreement for their presidents to meet at a summit, according to people with knowledge of the issue.
Officials holding commercial and economic portfolios, as both governments are trying to reduce the still significant difference between the concessions that China wants to offer and what the Trump administration will accept. On Monday, the Chinese Commerce Department began discussions between middle-class employees. An American high-level delegation headed by Commercial Representative Robert Lahtiser and Finance Minister Stephen Munchin will then hold two-day talks, starting on Thursday with China's Deputy Prime Minister Liu He and his envoy.
Both sides hope to pull out a framework for a deal, people said, in order to finalize a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Cing Dingping. The date for this session is not set. Last week, Mr Trump dismissed the meeting by the deadline of March 1, after initially proposing to meet with the Chinese leader.
Unless the two sides disagree so far or do not agree to extend the deadline, the $ 200 billion Chinese goods tariffs will jump to 25% from 10% at 12:01, Saturday, March 2.
Some of Mr Trump's more militant advisers warn him about the meeting, claiming that market expectations for a deal would reduce his leverage after the upcoming summit. After Deputy Prime Minister Liu went to Washington for a round of talks in late January, Mr Lighthizer warned that if the two sides did not make further progress this month, he would advise Mr Trump that "we can not finish" before March 1 – suggesting that tariffs will be increased.
There have been signs since then that Mr Trump has re-examined. "He wants to meet President Xi very soon," said White House senior adviser Kelian Conway in an interview with Fox News on Monday. "This president wants a deal."
Asked on Tuesday morning about the prospects for a trade deal, Mr Trump replied: "We will see what will happen," adding that he believes China wants to reach an agreement.
So far, Beijing has been reluctant to give grounds for questions it considers to be key to maintaining the governing Communist Party. These include the abolition of government subsidies for state-owned companies and other policies that underpin the state's economic model. Washington considers these steps to be essential to align the conditions for US companies operating in the world's second-largest economy.
United States. the negotiators headed to Beijing this week to continue the trade talks as a deadline of 1 March to reach an agreement. Will the agreement end the trade dispute on the horizon? Gerald F. Seib explains WSJ. Photo: Getty
When Mr. Liu was in Washington, Chinese officials spoke of increasing Chinese purchases of US farms and energy products and services, accelerating China's market opening efforts in sectors such as financial services and manufacturing, and improving the protection of US intellectuals. property rights, according to people informed about the discussions. The Chinese leaders see all these measures in line with the nation's own interests. protectionist industrial policies that prefer state-controlled companies at the expense of US competitors.
Beijing denies that there is any formal pressure on US businesses to transfer technology. Instead, Chinese authorities said foreign companies voluntarily share technology in return for access to China's markets. The issue of forced technology transfer is a major reason that US support for Beijing has declined in recent years, with large companies complaining about threats and pressure to pass on their own information and technology to Chinese partners.
Lighthizer's office last year, the US-Chinese Business Council, a group representing more than 200 US businesses doing business with China, has suggested several ways Beijing can tackle these issues. One of them is the installation of independent, transparent regulatory panels that would not expose business secrets provided by foreign companies, as it is said, sometimes happens to the expert committees currently considering new products to commercial production.