Mnuchin hopes for 'productive' trade meetings in China

Andrew Cummings
February 13, 2019

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

Trump said on Tuesday, "If we are close to a deal where we think we can make a real deal and it's going to get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while".

The comments came as the third round of trade negotiations were set to resume in Beijing to avert more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports.


On the US-China end, following the dashing of hopes for a Trump-Xi meeting prior to the March 1 deadline last week, President Donald Trump's latest hint of openness to extending the deadline lifted hopes for an eventual resolution. While it remains hard to tell how close the two countries are towards achieving an agreement, President Donald Trump does appear eager to see a deal being reached enthusing the markets.

Those tariffs now stand at 10 percent, but an additional $50 billion worth of imports has already been hit by a 25 percent tariff.

Lighthizer, who arrived at the hotel earlier in the day, did not answer reporters' questions. Trump had said final resolution of the trade dispute would depend on the meeting with Xi "in the near future" but told reporters it had not yet been arranged. China would likely respond by raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S goods that it announced past year in retaliation. A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported, but no deal and USA declarations that much more work was needed.


The US negotiators had been preparing for pressing China next week to reform its intellectual property transfer right rules in order to seal a decipherable deal, which could prevail further losses resulted in the tariff war, the amount of which could breach trillions.

"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.


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