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China trade talks resume this week in Beijing

13 February 2019

USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to hold talks on Thursday and Friday with Chinese vice premier Liu He, top economic adviser to president Xi Jinping.

The US has said it will increase tariff rates on $200bn worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% if the two sides don't strike a deal by 1 March. "If we're close to a deal".

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A March 1 deadline is looming for China and the United States to strike an accord before Washington hikes tariffs on Chinese goods to 25%.

Members of a USA trade delegation including deputy USA trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish left a Beijing hotel on Tuesday (Feb 12) on their way to the second day of talks with Chinese officials. Last week, Trump said that he would not meet Xi before the deadline, but further planning for a summit had not been reported.

Mnuchin, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday. 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.

Talks kicked off in Beijing with discussions among deputy-level officials on Monday before minister-level meetings later in the week.

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday he is open to postponing a trade deadline with China if negotiators make sufficient progress on a deal. It has fast-tracked approval of a law that would ban theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfers, but the question is how much more it can compromise.

"The key is whether the USA 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.

China trade talks resume this week in Beijing