Hopes for 'substantial progress' as US-China trade talks resume

US officials meet Chinese counterparts in Beijing in talks that will also cover exchange rates and trade surplus.

    China and the United States have begun their latest talks in Beijing aimed at ending a bitter trade war.

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who had a working dinner the night before with China Vice Premier Liu He, is holding a full day of discussions on Wednesday along with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

    On Tuesday, Mnuchin said he hoped for “substantial progress” in talks.

    Liu is scheduled to be in Washington next week for another round of talks in what could be the end game for negotiations.

    Liu greeted Mnuchin and Lighthizer as they arrived at a state guest house in Beijing on Wednesday and the three men exchanged pleasantries. 

    Beijing and Washington have cited progress on issues including intellectual property and forced technology transfer to help end a conflict marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that have cost both sides billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and roiled financial markets.

    But US officials say privately that an enforcement mechanism for a deal and timelines for lifting tariffs are sticking points.

    Chinese officials have also acknowledged that they view the enforcement mechanism as crucial, but say that it must work two ways and cannot put restraints only on China.

    US President Donald Trump has said that he may keep some tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period”.

    The US has also been pressing China to further open up its market to US firms. China has repeatedly pledged to continue reforms and make it easier for foreign companies to operate in the country.

    Trump raised US duties on $250bn of Chinese imports last year in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing retaliated by imposing penalties on $110bn of US goods.

    The talks also cover exchange rates and possible measures to narrow China’s multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the US. 

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