US team due in Beijing for talks next week

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (left) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the talks next week.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (left) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the talks next week.PHOTOS: AFP

Officials likely to push for deal protecting US intellectual property, and averting tariff hike

WASHINGTON • Senior US and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of trade talks in Beijing next week to push for a deal to protect American intellectual property and avert a March 2 increase in US tariffs on Chinese goods, two people familiar with the plans said.

The sources said on Tuesday that the US delegation would begin arriving in Beijing over the weekend, following a break this week for Chinese New Year.

"I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China," US President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, referring to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, while adding that any new trade deal with China "must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit and protect American jobs".

The new round of talks in Beijing, to be led by US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal, which cited an unidentified senior administration official.

A USTR spokesman said the agency had no new announcements to make on the issue. A Treasury Department spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Mr Trump has vowed to increase US tariffs on US$200 billion (S$271 billion) worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent if the two sides cannot reach a deal by 12.01am on March 2.

Bilateral talks have centred on addressing American demands for deep structural changes to China's economic and trade policies, including new protections for US intellectual property, ending forced technology transfers, reining in China's subsidies for state industries and increasing Chinese purchases of US farm, energy and manufactured products.

The Journal said that China has agreed to widen the trade discussions to include cyber hacking.

GAINS FOR US TREASURY

We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end. Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese goods - and now our Treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars.

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, on trade negotiations with China.

In his speech at the Capitol in Washington, Mr Trump blamed past US administrations and lawmakers "for allowing this travesty to happen" between the world's two largest economies and said his tariff strategy is working.

"We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end," Mr Trump said.

 

"Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese goods - and now our Treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars," he added.

Mr Trump said last week in Washington that he would meet Mr Xi in the coming weeks to try to seal a comprehensive deal, possibly as part of a trip to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

That summit will take place on Feb 27 and 28 in Vietnam, Mr Trump said on Tuesday.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'US team due in Beijing for talks next week'. Print Edition | Subscribe