For U.S.-China trade talks, hopes are high, expectations low

Jermaine Castillo
February 1, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Thursday that a trade deal with China would be unacceptable unless Beijing opened its markets to U.S. financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and other industries.

Mr Trump, speaking at the White House during a meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, said he was optimistic the world's two largest economies could reach "the biggest deal ever made".

The two sides face a March 1 deadline to avert a sharp increase in United States duties on $200 billion in Chinese exports - a prospect that economists say could further impact the global economy.

While a breakthrough deal is seen as unlikely from this round of negotiations, the White House has said a concluding statement will be released on the progress they've made on core issues such as Chinese technology transfers and intellectual property practices, market access and Beijing's pledge to buy more American goods.

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U.S. President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. He spoke after the talks concluded and Trump met in the Oval Office with the Chinese delegation. "But there is still a very long way to go", he added.

While China has offered increased purchases of U.S. farm, energy and other goods to try to resolve the trade disputes, negotiators dug into thornier issues, including Washington's demands that Beijing takes steps to protect USA intellectual property and end policies that the White House says force United States companies to turn over technology to Chinese firms. "I don't know", Trump said.

Brilliant, who made the remarks during a briefing call with reporters, has been in contact with members of Trump's trade team, who are in their second and final day of high-stakes discussions in Washington with a Chinese delegation headed by Liu. "However, we're not yet hearing progress in areas that are important for business as well as to the administration", said Brilliant. China agreed to increase imports of US agriculture, energy, industrial products and services, it said, without providing details. According to CNBC, that meeting could take place in late February, which would provide little margin for error ahead of the March 1 deadline.

The US President also addressed the ongoing trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

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He has advised Trump since his upstart presidential campaign, after he gained Trump's attention with his 2011 book "Death by China" painting the country as a serial trade cheater, subsidizing export-oriented industries and manipulating its currency. -China trade truce comes to an end, some in the American business community have expressed concerns that many questions remain on whether the two countries can make enough progress before the early-March deadline lapses.

The administration has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports; Beijing has retaliated with import taxes on $110 billion in USA goods. "They are correct", Trump said.

"Our sense from our discussions last week in China is that China is struggling to come up with anything on the technology transfer side, and from our standpoint that's problematic", Myron Brilliant, the chamber's head of worldwide affairs, said.

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