US, China set to resume 'candid' trade talks in Washington

US President Donald Trump watches as China's Vice Premier Liu He speaks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb 22 2019

US President Donald Trump watches as China's Vice Premier Liu He speaks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb 22 2019

China and the United States on Friday wrapped up their two-day ministerial-level talks in Beijing, where the world's two major powers tried to pave the way for ending their ongoing trade dispute.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin specified in a tweet on Friday that he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had concluded "constructive" trade talks in Beijing.

In an attempt to rectify the massive US trade deficit with China, Beijing has become willing to boost imports from Washington, sources close to the matter said.

China's stock markets soared on Friday, as investors were lifted by the strong performance of the liquor makers and other consumer shares as well as the resumed Sino-US trade talks.

Trump suggested last week that some of those tariffs should stay in place after a deal is reached to ensure China keeps its end of any bargain.

He added that "I did not agree with" comments White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow made on February 28 in a Fox News interview about the last round of talks in Washington a few days earlier.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is in Beijing, posted on Twitter that the talks will continue next week.

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.

Kudlow has said numerous times the US won't remove all tariffs on Chinese goods.

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

A United States administration official told Reuters earlier this week that Lighthizer and Mnuchin were "literally sitting there going through the texts", a task typically delegated to lower-level deputies.

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While his harsh use of tariffs has provoked many, his push to alter what is widely regarded as China's market-distorting trade has drawn extensive assistance.

Lobbyists, company executives and USA 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.

The talks are "policy and enforcement dependent", Kudlow said.

He said that the text of the deal will likely be in excess of 100 pages, including sections on forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, currency, services, non-tariff barriers, as well as agriculture.

As China nears agreement with the US, officials are keen to maintain an appearance of equality between the two sides, which explains the focus on matching visits to Beijing and Washington, the people said.

Speaking from his personal experience, Pompeo questioned the reciprocity in China's market access.

Officials are seeking to iron out major differences over United States accusations that China has been using unfair trade practices for years by heavily subsidising its companies while snatching the technological know-how of American firms.

Still, they say the negotiations are unlikely to resolve conflicts that have bedeviled U.S.

Trump's demands include an end to Beijing practices that Washington says result in systematic theft of US intellectual property and the forced transfer of American technology to Chinese companies.

Major sore points include China's massive trade surplus with the US and accusations it has stolen or coerced the transfer of foreign technology for its own uses.

China says its laws enshrine no requirements on technology transfers that are a result of legitimate transactions.

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