US-China trade talks to resume Thursday: White House

Washington Updated: Oct 07, 2019, 10:18 PM(IST)

File photo of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Lower-level talks have been underway since last month.

High-level US-China trade negotiations will resume this week in Washington, the White House announced Monday, a hopeful sign after a summer of deteriorating relations.

With eight days to go before the next round of punitive tariffs is due to hit, Beijing's top trade envoy Liu He will meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin beginning Thursday, the White House said in a statement.

Lower-level talks have been underway since last month.

The discussions will focus on areas where Washington has made far-reaching demands since last year: intellectual property rights, the forced transfer of proprietary technologies, agriculture and enforcement, the statement said.

US President Donald Trump said Friday there was a "very good chance" the two sides will strike a deal.

"We have had good moments with China and bad moments with China," he said. "What we're doing is we're negotiating a very tough deal. If the deal is not going to be 100 per cent for us we aren't going to make it."

However, Washington and Beijing are continuing to raise tariffs, with the next round of increases set to take effect October 15, as US tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods rise to 30 per cent.

Trump has claimed China's weakening economy puts Beijing under pressure to make a deal

But he also has said Chinese officials are dragging their feet in hopes of continuing negotiations with another administration should Trump fail to win reelection in 2020.

White House economic aide Larry Kudlow Monday denied that recent economic data showed the lingering trade war has damaged the US economy, saying the effect had been "minimum," a position most economists dispute.

Unemployment in September fell to its lowest level in 50 years but US manufacturing has fallen into recession, and GDP growth is forecast to slow considerably.

Trump is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry by congressional Democrats after pressuring Ukrainian authorities earlier this year to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden and son Hunter, whom Trump accuses of financial wrongdoing.

Trump last week raised the stakes openly calling on Beijing to do likewise.

But Kudlow told reporters there was no connection between the trade talks and Trump's call for China to investigate Biden.

"There'll be no linkage," he said. "I guarantee it."

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