WASHINGTON: Senior US and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of trade talks in Beijing next week to push for a deal to protect American intellectual property and avert a March 2 increase in US
tariffs on Chinese goods, two people familiar with the plans said on Tuesday.
The sources said that the US delegation would begin arriving in Beijing over the weekend, following a Chinese New Year break this week.
Dow Jones earlier reported that the talks next week would be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, citing an unidentified senior administration official.
Lighthizer had said after concluding a round of US-China talks last week that he and Mnuchin would be leading a team to Beijing early this month for more negotiations, but the timing was uncertain.
A USTR spokeswoman declined to comment on any plans for talks.
A Treasury Department spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
Dow Jones also said that China has agreed to widen the trade discussions to include cyber hacking and that US President Donald Trump had not yet decided whether to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the trade dispute.
The talks have centred on addressing US demands for deep structural changes to China’s economic and trade policies, including new protections for US intellectual property, ending forced technology transfers, reining in China’s subsidies for state industries and increasing Chinese purchases of US farm, energy and manufactured products.
Trump said he would be willing to meet with Xi to try seal a comprehensive trade deal, but Lighthizer said Trump would decide on the meeting based on progress in the talks.
Trump has vowed to increase tariffs on $200 billion (Dh734.51 billion) worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent currently if the two sides cannot reach a deal by 12.01am on March 2.
Trump, speaking at the White House last week during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, said he was optimistic that the world’s two largest economies could reach “the biggest deal ever made.” The Chinese trade delegation said in a statement that the talks had made “important progress,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.