close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

US, China report progress in Beijing trade talks

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a member of the U.S. trade delegation, speaks to the media upon his arrival at a hotel in Beijing, China March 28, 2019 Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Beijing, China Mar 30, 2019, 09.18 AM (IST)

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that trade talks with China were going very well, but cautioned that he would not accept anything less than a "great deal" after top US and Chinese trade officials wrapped up two days of negotiations in Beijing.

Both sides reported progress in the talks and China also approved majority-owned brokerage joint ventures for US bank JP Morgan Chase and Japan's Nomura, a step toward meeting US demands for more access to China's financial services market.

"The trade deal is going very well," Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

"It is a very comprehensive, very detailed enlisting of problems that we've had with China over the years," Trump said of the talks. "And it's going to have to be a great deal. If it's not a great deal, we can't do it."

In an earlier statement, the White House said the two sides "continued to make progress during candid and constructive discussions on the negotiations and important next steps," but did not elaborate on the nature of the progress.

The talks are set to resume next week in Washington with a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were in the Chinese capital for the first face-to-face meetings between the two sides since Trump delayed a scheduled March 2 increase in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China's state news agency Xinhua said the two sides discussed "relevant agreement documents" and made new progress in their talks, but did not elaborate in a brief report.

US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley told in Malvern, Iowa, that he has been told the Trump administration is planning to complete a deal with China by the end of April.

However, Trump administration officials, including White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, have said the negotiations are "not time-dependent" and could take weeks or even months to complete.

"We’ve made great progress on intellectual property, on trade secrets, on their government not forcing our business to give them our technologies and on currency manipulation, among several other things," Grassley said at a farm event.

But the Iowa Republican, whose state has been hit hard by China's retaliation against US tariffs, added that without an effective enforcement mechanism to hold China to its promises, "none of this other stuff matters."

Trump imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports beginning last July in a move to force China to change the way it does business with the rest of the world and to pry open more of its economy to US companies.

Though his blunt-force use of tariffs has angered many, Trump's push to change what are widely viewed as China's market-distorting trade and subsidy practices has drawn broad support.

Lobbyists, company executives and US lawmakers from both parties have urged Trump not to settle simply for Beijing's offers to make big-ticket purchases from the United States to help reduce a record trade gap.

Story highlights

Both sides reported progress in the talks and China also approved majority-owned brokerage joint ventures for US bank JP Morgan Chase and Japan's Nomura, a step toward meeting US demands for more access to China's financial services market