US officials in Beijing to prepare for another round of trade talks

The US negotiators have arrived early to lay the groundwork for the upcoming talks on Thursday and Friday.

Flags of China and America Source: Bloomberg

Some officials from the United States (US) have arrived in Beijing, China to lay the groundwork before US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin step in for the next round of trade negotiations, scheduled to be held in Beijing on Thursday and Friday.

The preparatory meetings which will begin today, will be led by deputy trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish and includes officials from agriculture, energy, and commerce departments.

China’s delegation will be led by vice premier Liu He, with participation from central bank governor Yi Gang, AFP said in a report.

So far, both countries have not crafted a draft on the matters that are agreed on or disagreed on, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal.

Tariff war

The US has hit a total US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on US$110 billion of US goods.

As of now, US$50 billion worth of goods are already taxed at 25%, while the remaining US$200 billion which is put on hold due to the trade truce are currently taxed at 10%.

The US has been focusing on agendas such as alleged Chinese theft of intellectual property, ownership of American companies in China, and tariffs and non-tariff barriers. The tariff war was implemented to coerce China into agreeing to US’ terms.

Both parties have a month’s time before their trade truce deadline is due on March 1st. If the negotiations fail, the tariffs will rise – from the current 10% to 25% - for the remaining US$200 billion of Chinese imports.

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