Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

US official Lighthizer arrives in Beijing ahead of trade talks

US official Lighthizer arrives in Beijing ahead of trade talks

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on Friday with officials including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the "South China Morning Post" reported.

After that date, USA tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Wheat rose 1¢ to $5.18¼ a bushel in Chicago while Kansas City futures declined ¼¢ to $4.94 a bushel.

USA president's comments come as the third round of trade negotiations between the United States and China are set to resume in Beijing to avert more than doubling tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports. The US labelled the Chinese warship's actions unsafe and unprofessional, while Beijing said the US was threatening the safety and sovereignty of China.

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"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. This week a White House aide said the USA president still wants to meet his Chinese counterpart soon in a bid to end the trade war.

The Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Premier Liu He, China's point man on trade, and the Governor of the People's Bank of China Yi Gang.

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 USA is using the trade war to contain the country's rise. USA officials are pressing China to stop allegedly stealing intellectual property from American companies and commit to deeper reforms to a state-driven economic model that they say hurts US competitors.

It is unclear whether that will satisfy Washington and other governments that complain the system is rigged to extract technology from foreign companies and to use official industrial standards to shield Chinese enterprises from competition.

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According to media reports, the meeting may take place in Vietnam on 27-28 February.

Trump's comments are at odds with the firm line held by other members of the administration until now.

And what if Trump goes ahead with a March 2 tariff hike to step up pressure on Beijing?

"We conduct routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future", the Navy spokesman said in the statement to ABC. "It would be a awful cost for American consumers and a bad hit to the global economy".

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