Deadline is Looming for Crucial US-China Trade Talks

in Opinions

The US-China trade talks are set to continue, with March 1 being set as the deadline for final negotiations and a deal.

There have already been three solid days of meetings between the two countries, involving US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, top economic adviser to Xi Jinping, the Chinese President.

Talks are aimed at sorting out US-China trade deals. The countries  are looking to end a dispute that has seen both the countries increasing tariffs on the other. Tariffs are set to rise in imports from China, a whopping 25% if the two countries cannot come to an agreement.

Trump has said that if the deadline is not met he will consider extending it, but he would prefer not to do this. It is possible that negotiations may need more time. There has also been speculation that the two leaders, Trump and Jinping, could meet in Florida, perhaps at Mar-a-Lago, in March. Trump is keen to meet Jinping, who by all accounts, is not as enthusiastic as the American leader.

In the meantime, with the thought tariff increase and tougher business between the two countries, a growing number of American business people and legislators are hoping for a delay in such tariffs. The United States is demanding that China does some huge structural policy changes; some of these changes do not exactly suit the Chinese.

Amongst others, the US is hoping to put an end to Beijing’s industrial subsidies, enforcing intellectual property rights and stopping the forced transfer of US trade secrets.

There were talks between the Chinese and the Americans in January this year, with some progress being made, but not a deal. After these meetings, the US said that more work needs to be done, and perhaps a meeting with Trump and Jinping could be the clincher.

The concern is growing in the US about the increasing state control of China’s economy, around the military activity in the South China and security around Chinese technological companies.  There is friction between the two countries and even a trade agreement may not mean an end to that.

While Americans said the talks were hopeful, by contrast, the Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng, said no information on the talks, and their success or obstacles, is currently available.

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