Lighthizer, Mnuchin to travel to China for trade talks

March 25, 2019 08:18
File photo shows (from left) US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,  US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Feb. 15. Photo: Reuters

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for the latest round of high-level trade talks scheduled to start on March 28, Reuters reports, citing a White House statement.

The United States also will receive a Chinese trade delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He for meetings in Washington that are set to begin on April 3, the White House said.

President Donald Trump said on Friday the negotiations with China were progressing and a final agreement seemed probable, as the world’s two largest economies seek to ease tensions from an eight-month-old trade war.

But earlier last week, Trump warned the US may leave tariffs on Chinese imports for a while, though Beijing has pushed for them to be removed as part of any deal.

China is not conceding to US demands to ease curbs on technology companies, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing three people briefed on the discussions.

The FT report said Beijing had yet to offer “meaningful concessions” to US requests for China to stop discriminating against foreign cloud computing providers, to reduce limits on overseas data transfers and to relax a requirement for companies to store data locally.

China made an initial offer on digital trade that the US judged as insufficient, the report said, citing a source.

China then retracted the offer after the US demanded stronger pledges, the report said, without giving further details.

The White House and China’s Commerce Ministry did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment on Sunday.

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