United States officials arrive in China for trade talks as deadline looms

Muriel Colon
February 14, 2019

With a March 1 deadline fast approaching, U.S. and Chinese officials resume negotiations next week to prevent escalation of a trade dispute that has major implications for the global economy.

USA negotiators will likely continue to urge China to make structural reforms and end what the US claims to be unfair trade practices.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the Trump administration was pleased that the talks were moving forward but cautioned that March 1 is a "real deadline" for reaching a deal.

As a result, some aides privately acknowledge the most likely scenario is for the March 1 deadline to be extended, and for tariffs on some $200 billion in Chinese imports not to be raised to 25 percent as Trump has threatened.

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.

Mnuchin, asked by reporters as he left his Beijing hotel what his hopes were for the visit, said "productive meetings".


Mnuchin will be joined by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as well as David Malpass, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the World Bank, in negotiations set for Thursday and Friday.

The White House said there would be a preparatory meeting of senior officials beginning February 11 and the talks would include officials from the Agriculture, Energy and Commerce Departments.

A new round of trade talks between the USA and China begins in Beijing this week, with both sides hoping to reach a trade deal by the end of this month.

The United States and its Western allies believe Huawei's apparatus could be used for espionage, and see its expansion into central Europe as a way to gain a foothold in the European Union market.

Facing an economic slowdown at home, the Chinese government has a strong motivation to address American demands and put an end to the trade war.

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