Date
15 December 2019
Chinese officials are not optimistic about the size or scope of any trade agreement with Washington in the short term, a report says. Photo: Reuters
Chinese officials are not optimistic about the size or scope of any trade agreement with Washington in the short term, a report says. Photo: Reuters

China lowers expectations on trade talks: report

China has lowered expectations for significant progress from this week’s trade talks with the United States, even as US President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed fresh optimism, Reuters reports.

While Beijing wants to end the trade war, it is not optimistic about the size or scope of any agreement with Washington in the short term, the report said, citing unidentified Chinese officials.

Top US and Chinese trade and economic officials will meet in Washington on Thursday and Friday for fresh trade talks.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are due to take part in the deliberations.

Without significant progress, Trump is set to hike the tariff rate on US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent next Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Trump said: “If we can make a deal, we’re going to make a deal, there’s a really good chance.”

“In my opinion China wants to make a deal more than I do,” Trump added on Wednesday.

But a Chinese source told Reuters that, based on the current situation, it is possible that this week’s talks between the two sides will end in a deadlock.

Asked about the probability of reaching an agreement, the official was quoted as saying: “This is not an easy task. It requires a lot of preparation work and consensus on both sides.”

For trade relations or overall ties between the two countries to improve, more time is needed, Chinese officials say.

While previous lower-level talks between US and Chinese officials aimed to create a good atmosphere for the upcoming meeting, Washington’s blacklisting of 28 Chinese companies has generated a negative atmosphere instead, Chinese sources told Reuters.

The US Department of Commerce on Monday blacklisted video surveillance firm Hikvision and 27 other entities, in move linked to China’s perceived human rights violations in Xinjiang.

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