US’s Lighthizer, Mnuchin to Travel to China for Trade Talks

By Reuters
March 24, 2019Politics
US’s Lighthizer, Mnuchin to Travel to China for Trade Talks
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and other Trump Administration officials (R-L) sit down with Chinese vice ministers and senior officials for trade negotiations in the Diplomatic Room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Jan. 30, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for the latest round of high-level trade talks scheduled to start on March 28, the White House said in a statement on March 23.

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthize
U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, a member of the U.S. trade delegation to China, leaves a hotel with his baggage in Beijing on Feb. 15, 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

The United States also will receive a Chinese trade delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He for meetings in Washington that are set to begin on April 3, the White House said.

President Donald Trump said on March 22 that the negotiations with China were progressing and a final agreement seemed probable as the world’s two largest economies seek to ease tensions from eight-month-long trade negotiations.

Tariffs on Chinese Goods Could Stay for ‘Substantial Period’

On March 20, Trump warned that the United States may leave tariffs on Chinese imports for a “substantial period,” though Beijing has pushed for them to be removed.

Trump warned on March 20 that the United States may leave tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” to ensure that Beijing complies with the terms in any trade agreement that may be signed.

The face-to-face talks will be the first since Trump delayed a March 1 deadline to avert a rise in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from the current 10 percent.

“The deal is coming along nicely,” Trump told reporters at the White House, adding that the China trip was intended “to further the deal.”

Trump added when asked if he would be lifting U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods: “We’re not talking about removing them. We’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal, China lives by it.”

Trump did not elaborate on his plans for the tariffs. His negotiators have demanded that China agree to an enforcement mechanism to ensure that Beijing follows through on any reform pledges in any deal.

Washington is demanding that China end practices it says force the transfer of American technology to Chinese companies, improve access for American companies to China’s markets and curb industrial subsidies.

Since July 2018, the United States has imposed duties on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, including $50 billion in technology and industrial goods at 25 percent and $200 billion in other products including furniture and construction materials, at 10 percent. China has hit back with tariffs on about $110 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans and other commodities.

During a speech in Lima, Ohio, Trump emphasized again that he wanted the United States to reach a “great” trade deal with China.

“We’re so far down, it’s got to be a great deal. If it’s not a great deal, you never catch up,” Trump said in remarks at a military tank manufacturing plant.

Steve Holland contributed to this article

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