United States trade representative Lighthizer arrives in China ahead of high-level talks

Lamar Ellis
February 13, 2019

After meetings in Washington last week ended in a stalemate, officials kicked off another round of talks in Beijing. While those purchases will provide relief to US farmers, there has been no breakthrough on the structural issues separating the two nations, such as industrial policy, government subsidies, protection of intellectual property or forced transfers of technology. The news comes on the day that a USA trade delegation arrived in Beijing for another round of talks in the ongoing trade conflict between US and China.

A March 1 deadline is looming for China and the United States to strike an accord before Washington hikes tariffs on Chinese goods to 25%.

While China has offered to buy more U.S. soybeans and beef, officials have yet even to agree on a draft of a deal that would address key U.S. concerns, according to media reports. It has fast-tracked approval of a law that would ban theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfers, but the question is how much more it can compromise.

China's foreign ministry struck a confident tone yesterday as a junior delegation of American negotiators arrived in Beijing.

Ship and containers are shown at the port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday he hopes for "productive" trade meetings in China this week, as the two countries seek to hammer out an agreement amid a festering dispute that has seen both level tariffs at each other.

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China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

US President Donald Trump said Thursday he did not expect to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline for the two economic superpowers to reach a deal.

"Now they're paying billions of dollars a month for the privilege of coming into the United States and honestly taking advantage of our country".

But US stock markets were less enthusiastic about prospects for a deal, with any optimism overshadowed by concerns about another government shutdown and a diminished 2019 US corporate earnings outlook.

Current data shows that USA futures are looking at a gain of about 0.8 percent at market open for both the Standard & Poors 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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