Top US officials to hold trade talks in China next week

(From left) US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing February 15, 2019. — Reuters pic
(From left) US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing February 15, 2019. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, April 24 — US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for trade talks beginning on April 30, the White House said in a statement yesterday.

It said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who will lead the Beijing talks for China, will also travel to Washington for more discussions starting on May 8.

"The subjects of next week's discussions will cover trade issues including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases, and enforcement," the White House said.

Beijing and Washington are seeking a deal to end a bitter trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that have cost the world's two largest economies billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and rattled financial markets.

Earlier yesterday, Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said the United States and China were making progress in the talks and he was “cautiously optimistic” about the prospects for striking a deal.

“We're not there yet, but we've made a heck of a lot of progress,” Kudlow, speaking in a luncheon at the National Press Club, said in response to questions from reporters.

“We've come further and deeper, broader, larger-scale than anything in the history of US-China trade.”

“We've gotten closer and we're still working on the issues, so-called structural issues, technology transfers,” Kudlow added. “Ownership enforcement is absolutely crucial. Lowering barriers to buy and sell agriculture and industrial commodities. It's all on the table.”

The United States is seeking changes from China that range from reducing industrial subsidies to halting forced technology transfers by US companies seeking to enter the Chinese market. — Reuters