US, China Launch High-Level Trade Talks Amid Deep Differences

US, China Launch High-Level Trade Talks Amid Deep Differences

US, China Launch High-Level Trade Talks Amid Deep Differences

Liu He, China's chief trade negotiator, met Wednesday with US negotiators led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the Executive Office building next to the White House to continue discussions over Washington's long-standing complaints that Beijing forces USA companies to transfer their technology advances to Chinese firms and that it limits access to China's vast market.

Trade talks between the USA and China have been characterized by "good intent and spirit on both sides", President Donald Trump said on Thursday.

The core of the US allegations against China is that Beijing systematically steals trade secrets, forces foreign companies to hand over technology as the price of access to the Chinese market and subsidizes its own tech companies.

Trump told reporters prior to a private meeting with Liu that he believes the accord has a "very good chance of happening" and that it "will be by far the biggest trade deal ever made" if it does.

Trump has set a March deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Specifically, US officials are attacking Chinese trade practices they say are unfair, spotlighting the forced transfer of American technology through requirements that foreign companies form joint ventures with local firms, as well as the alleged theft of American intellectual property through hacking.

Trump said in his tweets negotiators are working to complete a deal, leaving "NOTHING unresolved on the table" before the March 1 deadline agreed by both sides. All of the many problems are being discussed and will be hopefully resolved.

Trump said on Twitter he was looking for China to open its markets "not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other USA businesses and industries".

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Hu and Beijing officials are discussing disputes over intellectual property rights and drugs with Trump's top economic and trade aides.

There were also questions about whether imported cars were eligible for tax breaks and scrappage schemes and whether imported goods were eligible for a Chinese fund for promoting energy saving products.

Washington also doesn't like that Beijing subsidizes its tech industry as part of its "Belt and Road" initiative to become the world's leader in critical sectors, such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang declined comment on Chinese proposals as he left the delegation's hotel for the meetings in Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that both sides had "had a good discussion".

Deepening the challenge is the US view that China has pledged in the past to curb cyber-theft and forced transfers of technology - and then failed to do so.

Chinese officials are resistant to the wholesale changes sought by the U.S. and the charges against Huawei - one of China's biggest and most successful technology firms - have added to the political tensions.

Sources said earlier that China had refrained from committing to substantially altering its tech and government subsidy policies, which form the crux of the USA problems with China.

The administration has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports; Beijing has retaliated with import taxes on $110 billion in USA goods.

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