Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Mnuchin in Beijing for crunch US-China trade talks

Mnuchin in Beijing for crunch US-China trade talks

China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties.

"We, of course, hope, and the people of the world want to see, a good result", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news briefing in Beijing.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he could let the March 1 deadline for a trade agreement with China "slide for a little while", but that he would prefer not to and expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to close the deal at some point.

"Recently various reports on the issue have emerged".

He repeated the incorrect statement that China is paying the duties, which in fact are paid by U.S. companies importing goods.

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Fears have grown in recent months that the US-China trade dispute is just one element in a bilateral relationship that is fast cooling across the board, with top US administration officials sharply criticising Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber espionage in the United States.

The White House said there would be a preparatory meeting of senior officials beginning February 11 and the talks would include officials from the Agriculture, Energy and Commerce Departments.

Trump said talks in Beijing are "going well", but acknowledged bilateral talks between him and Xi are unlikely to come to pass before the current March 2 deadline.

"It looks that way", Conway said when asked if the two sides were getting closer to reaching a deal.

Beijing accused the U.S. of entering Chinese waters without permission and engaging in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty.

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On Monday, the USA delegation arrived in Beijing to start preliminary consultations.

Those tariffs now stand at 10 percent, but an additional $50 billion worth of imports has already been hit by a 25 percent tariff.

The two countries have traded barbs over what U.S. said was Beijing's military installation building on artificial islands and reefs. Until Trump agreed to a 90-day trade truce, the 10 percent tariff was set to rise to 25 percent.

"I think they're making progress and my hope is that by March 1 there will be enough progress to be made that at a minimum, there could be a delay in the imposition of additional tariffs", Portman told reporters.

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