US, China upbeat on trade talks, but South China Sea tensions weigh

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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.

BEIJING/WASHINGTON: U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hopes on Monday that a new round of talks would bring them closer to easing their seven-month trade war, but a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea cast a shadow over the negotiations in Beijing.

The world’s two largest economies are trying to hammer out a deal before a March 1 deadline, after which U.S. tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies’ intellectual property, or IP, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the Trump administration was pleased that the talks were moving forward but cautioned that March 1 is a “real deadline” for reaching a deal.

The talks kicked off in Beijing with discussions among deputy-level officials on Monday before minister-level meetings later in the week. A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported – but no deal and U.S. declarations that much more work was needed.

“You know, the juniors are working on something now that they’re going to present to the seniors later in the week,” Hassett told Fox Business Network. “And, absolutely, you know, we’ve put everything on the table, including IP theft and forced technology transfer and so on.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/us–china-upbeat-on-trade-talks–but-south-china-sea-tensions-weigh-11230094

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