U.S. team in Beijing for trade talks

With a March 1 deadline fast approaching, United States and Chinese officials resume negotiations next week to prevent escalation of a trade dispute that has major implications for the global economy.

And President Donald Trump's aggressive strategy has failed to produce a reduction in the USA trade deficit with China, which he set as a primary goal.

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 USA concerns, according to media reports.

A previous round of talks in Washington last month ended without a deal.

"The idea of a March 1 deadline actually offers a cover for Sino-US trade talks".

A new round of trade talks between the USA and China begins in Beijing this week, with both sides hoping to reach a trade deal by the end of this month.

A White House official said last Friday that preparations were under way and the talks would continue to focus on pressing Beijing to make structural reforms.

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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will lead those talks.

The two sides are trying to hammer out a deal ahead of the March 1 deadline, when USA tariffs on US$200 billion (S$271 billion) worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

At a press conference hours after the summit in the Argentinian capital city, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and deputy commerce minister Wang Shouwen did not mention the 90-day truce period.

Washington suspended plans in December to increase tariffs on Dollars 200 billion worth of Chinese imports - to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent - to give negotiators space to resolve a trade spat that has triggered fears of a global economic slowdown.

U.S. trade representative Lighthizer said in December that March 1 was a "hard deadline".

China's economy already has shown signs of slowing, while the trade war has shaken the confidence of U.S. businesses, as retaliatory tariffs have raised prices and helped choke off a key export market.

"For China, if the talks go well, a deal will come naturally; if the talks don't go well, everything else will be pointless".

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