U.S.-China Trade Talks Wrap Up

January 9, 2019

U.S. and Chinese negotiators have concluded three days of talks this week in Beijing to resolve the trade dispute between the two countries, saying only progress was made in identifying and narrowing the differences between the world’s two largest economies. Further statements from both governments are expected, although President Trump tweeted that the talks were going well.

The trade talks among mid-level government representatives from both countries have raised prospects that Washington and Beijing can reach a deal before President Trump’s March 2 deadline for raising tariffs on nearly two-fifths of Chinese imports into the U.S. The president previously has raised tariffs on lubricants and additives imported from China.

The negotiations largely involved the extent to which China will agree to binding commitments to change its trade practices, including increased purchases of U.S. products, reforms to forced technology transfers and subsidies, and intellectual property protections.

The Chinese government has made a series of offers to the Trump administration over the past month to end the trade dispute, but many American officials are skeptical that Beijing will follow through on promised permanent, structural changes to its trade with the U.S.

China’s lead trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, is scheduled to visit Washington later this month. China appears anxious to end the trade dispute with the U.S., but the official Chinese news agency said that Beijing will not make any “unreasonable concessions,” and any trade agreement must involve compromises on both sides.