White House says China trade talks to resume in Washington next week

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, US on May 7, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - China's top economic official will visit Washington next week to resume trade talks with the Trump administration, the White House said on Monday (May 7), after discussions in Beijing last week failed to produce agreement on a long list of US trade demands.

"We are working on something that we think will be great for everybody," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters at a regular White House press briefing.

"China's top economic adviser, the vice premier (Liu He), will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the president's economic team," she said.

Sanders offered no further details on arrangements for the talks.

A seven-member US delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin presented Liu and other Chinese officials with a list of demands to address allegations of intellectual property theft and other trade policies that Washington considers unfair.

Those included slashing the US trade deficit with China by US$200 billion (S$267 billion) , cutting tariffs and eliminating subsidies for advanced technology, according to people familiar with the demands.

China requested that President Donald Trump back off his tariff threats, reassess a Commerce Department ban on US firms selling components and software to Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp and treat Chinese investments equally under US security reviews.

The two sides failed to reach any consensus in two days of talks but agreed to continue discussions.

Trump met with the US delegation in Washington over the weekend to assess the meetings. He tweeted that China had"become very spoiled with US trade wins."

Chinese state media struck an optimistic tone over the weekend, with the English-language China Daily newspaper saying a mechanism to keep an open trade dialogue was a "positive development, despite "big differences."

Trump's administration has threatened to impose tariffs on up to US$150 billion of Chinese import goods over allegations that Beijing misappropriates US technology through joint-venture requirements, unfair technology licensing practices, outright theft and state-backed acquisitions of US technology firms.

China denies that its policies coerce foreign firms to transfer technology to Chinese competitors. It has said its own retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including soybeans and aircraft, will go into effect if the US duties are imposed.

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