Top US officials to hold trade talks in Beijing next week

The subjects of next week’s discussions will cover trade issues including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture.

China flag Source: Bloomberg

United States (US) trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin will head to Beijing next week for trade talks with China, the White House said in a statement.

The talks will begin on April 30, and on the Chinese side, vice-premier Liu He will lead the round of discussions.

The subjects of next week’s discussions will cover trade issues ‘including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases, and enforcement,’ the White House said.

The White House said a delegation from Beijing will travel to Washington on May 8.

Trade talks ‘end-game’ in sight

Both sides have been shuttling between each other’s countries for the past few months to negotiate on a hefty trade deal to calm a trade dispute that had spooked markets late last year. US president Donald Trump hit a total of US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs in the second half of last year and China then retaliated by imposing duties on US$110 billion of US goods.

Both parties have been negotiating for a trade deal since, and Mr Trump delayed the increase in US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods on March 1 to provide more time for negotiations between the two countries.

Talks between the two sides faced a slight blip in March, after weeks of visibly positive progress between both countries, as a summit between Mr Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping was postponed later-than-expected from March to April.

Early this month, executive vice-president for international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Myron Brilliant told reporters 90% of the trade deal is done, but ironing out the last 10% is the hardest part. ‘It’s the trickiest part and it will require trade-offs on both sides.’

Currency movements

Most major currencies weakened against the greenback on Wednesday as the US dollar strengthened on signs of progress from the US-Sino trade conflict and as traders returned with a spring in their step after the long Easter weekend break.

At around 10.30am Singapore time, the Euro eased to US$1.1211, while the Sterling dipped 0.05% to US$1.2932. The Aussie dollar weakened 0.88% to US$0.7039 from yesterday’s US$0.7095.

The greenback to Yen was muted in movement, with a 0.01% increase to ¥111.88.


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