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U.S., China envoys hold talks before Trump tariff decision

14 February 2019, 12:45 | Joann Bryant

U.S., China envoys hold talks before Trump tariff decision

An official said the two US guided-missile destroyers traveled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday trade talks with China were "going along very well" as the world's two largest economies try to resolve their seven-month tariff war ahead of a March 1 deadline for a deal.

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.

Lighthizer did not answer reporters' questions on his arrival at a hotel in the Chinese capital.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will join higher principal-level talks Thursday and Friday. "We're looking forward to several important days of talks".

Observers fear the trade dispute is just one element in the deteriorating relationship between the world's two top economies with top White House officials sharply criticising Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber-warfare.

The U.S. president had said on Tuesday that the deadline for an agreement could "slide for a little while", but he preferred not to do so.




Chinese officials also are balking at US pressure to accept a mechanism to monitor whether Beijing carries out its promises, said Kuijs. And while no date has yet been agreed for a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping, he said he expects that to happen "at some point".

Another source confirmed that Xi was set to meet with the U.S. delegation in Beijing later in the week, without specifying the exact date.

The United States have sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea overnight, a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.

The meeting is likely to be another effort to clinch a trade deal with the U.S. heading into the March 1 tariff deadline. -China Business Council, said more time may be needed for a deal, which will require a meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart to complete.

It has also accused the government of supporting technology theft as part of its broader development strategy, while in China there is a sense that the United States is using the trade war to contain the country's rise. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned allies on Monday against deploying equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei on their soil, saying it would make it more hard for Washington to "partner alongside them".



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