US and China closer to reaching trade deal, details outlined

US and China have started to outline commitments in principle on issues in their trade dispute, according to Reuters sources familiar with the negotiations.

US and China high level talks almost over Source: Bloomberg

Officials on both sides are to hold talks on Thursday in Washington to work out the main differences, with more talks to continue on Friday.

One of the disputes being ironed out are demands made by US president Donald Trump and his administration, demanding structural changes be made to China's economy.

It comes after a 90-day truce that Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping put in place to put a hold on the tariff trade war, after they met in Argentina last year.

Memorandums of understanding

Reuters sources said the two sides are pushing for an agreement by March 1. Reuters sources have reported that negotiators are drawing up six memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on issues including: technology transfers, cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers.

Reports say that one source mentioned that the talks could possibly end in failure, but work on the MOUs a significant step in getting China to sign commitments on key issues, he said.

Negotiators to work out the finer details

One of the main disputes coming from the US has been accusing Beijing of forcing their companies to do business in China to share their technology with local partners, and to also hand over intellectual property secrets. China has always denied the accusations.

There’s also obeen US objections to non-tariff barriers in China, including industrial subsidies, regulations, business licensing procedures, product standards review and other practices that keep US goods out of China.

On Thursday, top level US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese vice premier Liu He will lead the remaining talks.

Trump said on Tuesday he thought China had an incentive to move swiftly.

Trump’s global trade war

Everything you need to know about Trump’s showdown with China.

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