China, U.S. Reach Deals Over Parts Of Trade Row But Differences ‘Relatively Big’: Xinhua - FbiCables Network | The News that Shapes World Opinion

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Friday, May 04, 2018

China, U.S. Reach Deals Over Parts Of Trade Row But Differences ‘Relatively Big’: Xinhua


U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin waves to the media as he and the U.S. delegation for trade talks with China, leave a hotel in Beijing
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin waves to the media as he and the U.S. delegation for trade talks with China, leave a hotel in Beijing, China May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
May 4, 2018
By Sue-Lin Wong and Elias Glenn
BEIJING (Reuters) – Top officials from China and the United States reached a consensus on some aspects of the countries’ trade row, but disagreements over other issues remain “relatively big”, according to China’s Xinhua news agency on Friday.
The two sides, though, committed to resolving their trade disputes through dialogue, state-run Xinhua reported.
And the U.S. negotiators agreed to bring up with U.S. President Donald Trump the question of a ban on U.S. companies selling goods and software to Chinese telecommunication equipment maker ZTE Corp after representations from the Chinese side, the report said. ZTE faced the seven-year ban after the U.S. said it failed to keep to an agreement it made after breaching U.S. sanctions.
The talks over the past two days have involved a high-level U.S. trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and top Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He, following months of threats and counter threats from both sides in a series of disputes over trade practices.
The trade discussions have been “candid, efficient and constructive,” Xinhua said, but gave almost no details on what the officials had agreed.
The officials exchanged opinions on resolving tariffs and non-tariffs measures, on expanding two-way investment and the protection of intellectual property, and on expanding U.S. exports to China and bilateral services trade, Xinhua reported. It gave no indication of what actions might be taken based on those exchanges.
The U.S. delegation has yet to give its account of the talks.
The United States has proposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods under its so-called “Section 301” intellectual property probe. Those could go into effect in June following the completion of a 60-day consultation period, but activation plans have been kept vague.
China has said its own retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans and aircraft, will go into effect if the U.S. duties are imposed.
The U.S. tariffs focus heavily on technology products benefiting from the “Made in China 2025” program, which promotes the development of 10 sectors including aerospace, robotics and clean-energy cars.
A breakthrough deal to fundamentally change China’s economic policies was viewed as highly unlikely during the two-day visit, though any signs of meaningful progress in the dispute could delay any punitive action from the U.S.
“We are having very good conversations,” Mnuchin told reporters earlier on Friday as he left his hotel.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as the U.S delegation began their talks, which were held at a state guest house in the western part of the Chinese capital.
Trump has targeted China’s massive trade surplus with the United States, in recent months demanding a $100 billion annual reduction in the $375 billion U.S. goods trade deficit with China.
According to two sources with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. delegation submitted a document to the Chinese before the talks asking China to cut its trade surplus with the United States by $200 billion by 2020 and lower tariffs on all products to levels no higher than those imposed by the United States.
The delegation also asked China to halt subsidies for advanced technology, the sources said.
Chinese officials believed the proposal was “unfair,” the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting people with knowledge of the negotiations.
NO ILLUSIONS
U.S.-based trade experts have said they expected Beijing to offer Trump’s team a package of policy changes that may include some previously announced moves, such as a phase-out of joint venture requirements for some sectors, autos tariff reductions and increased purchases of U.S. goods.
U.S. complaints about Chinese intellectual property abuses are at the core of the current dispute. The Trump administration says U.S. companies lose hundreds of billions of dollars annually to China’s theft of trade secrets.
Members of the Trump administration’s delegation to Beijing for talks to try to stave off a trade war between the world’s two largest economies included U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a hard-line and experienced trade negotiator.
Lighthizer said on Tuesday it was not his objective to change China’s economic system, but that he would try to find ways to limit the damage it causes to the United States and open it further for U.S. companies.
The group also included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro, a noted China trade hawk.
Navarro advised Trump throughout his 2016 election campaign, during which the candidate routinely threatened to impose a 45 percent across-the-board tariff on Chinese goods as a way to level the playing field for American workers.

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