WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China have made progress in all talks that have been discussed in trade talks, with unprecedented moves on the delicate issue of forced technology transfer, but points remain, the US administration said Wednesday towards Reuters.
US. Sales Representative Robert Lighthizer (4thL), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (3rdL), and White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow (2ndL) pose before the US-China trade talks begin at the White House in Washington, US, on February 21st , 2019. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts
US Commercial Agent Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrive in Beijing on Thursday to hold a new round of talks with Chinese officials to negotiate a deal that would end a months-long trade war.
The personal conversations that will follow in Washington next week are the first personal meetings that the two sides have held in recent weeks, having completed a first goal for late March before the end of March Summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sign a pact.
Reuters spoke for this report with four senior government officials.
One official said China has put forward proposals that go beyond the past, and hope for an agreement that the United States must make on structural changes in the Chinese economy.
"They talk about enforced technology transfer in a way they never wanted to talk about before, both in terms of scope and peculiarities," he said on condition of anonymity.
Washington wants Beijing to end practices that include the theft of US intellectual property and the forced transfer of American technology to Chinese companies. It wants better access for US companies to China's markets and a reduction in Chinese industrial subsidies.
The talks would continue as long as the core agreements negotiated in the agreement made progress.
Reuters reported that both sides were working on written agreements in six areas: forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers.
"If you looked at the texts a month ago compared to today, we have evolved in all areas. We are not where we want to go yet, "the official said.
The officials refused to set a schedule for the talks.
"It could go until May, June, nobody knows. It could happen in April, we do not know, "said another government official.
He said that intellectual property and the enforcement of a potential deal remain points.
"SOME TARIFFS WILL BE MADE"
The world's two largest economies have cost hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs. China wants the United States to lift its tariffs as part of a deal. Washington, aware of the fact that the tariffs give it leverage to ensure that Beijing complies with all its commitments, is careful to lift it immediately.
Trump said last week the United States could leave tariffs on Chinese goods for a "considerable period of time" to ensure compliance.
"Some tariffs remain," the second official said. "There will be a lot, but we will not get rid of all tariffs. We can not.
The topic will be discussed in the upcoming talks.
"Of course that's a problem we need to solve … and will be an important part of a final agreement," said the first official.
Since July 2018, the United States has imported $ 250 billion of Chinese imports, including 25 percent for technology and industrial goods of 25 percent and $ 200 billion for other products including furniture and construction materials and 10 percent.
China has knocked down tariffs on US goods worth around $ 110 billion (including soybeans and other commodities).
Report by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney