US and Chinese officials expressed hopes that a new round of talks would bring them closer to easing their seven-month trade war, but a US Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea cast a shadow over the negotiations in Beijing, Reuters reports.
USA negotiators will likely continue to urge China to make structural reforms and end what the US claims to be unfair trade practices. 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. But the two sides are only just starting the work of drafting a common document and are still tussling over how a deal may be enforced, which US officials have repeatedly called a crucial element.
Trump said last week he did not plan to meet with Xi before the March 1 deadline.
If the two sides can not reach a deal by March 1, US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.
United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to hold talks on Thursday and Friday with Chinese vice premier Liu He, top economic adviser to president Xi Jinping.More news: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins protest outside White House, calls for TPS amnesty
U.S. President Donald Trump said he's open to extending a March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese products if the two sides are near an agreement. And top White House economist Larry Kudlow said Thursday that while Trump was "optimistic" about prospects for a deal, there remained a "sizable distance" separating the two sides.
These include accusations of intellectual property theft and forcing American companies to share their technology with Chinese firms. Officials have said March 1 is a "real deadline" for reaching a deal. "Right now it is in place but that is right now", the official told CNBC.
Mnuchin, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday.
Lower level officials had arrived earlier for what the White House has called preparatory meetings due to start on Monday. However, strident White House China critic Peter Navarro was not listed as part of the U.S. team.