WASHINGTON: Trade talks between the United States and China made “good headway” last week in Beijing and the two sides aim to bridge differences during talks that could extend beyond three days this week, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.
Kudlow, speaking to reporters at an event organised by the Christian Science Monitor, said China had recognised problems for the first time during the talks that the United States has raised for years.
Negotiations are continuing in Washington on Wednesday after meetings last week in Beijing, spearheaded by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Chinese commitments to increase purchases of American agricultural, energy and manufactured products are expected to be part of a final deal, and a person familiar with the talks said that China would get about six years to meet those commitments, or until 2025.
The deadline was reported earlier by Bloomberg, but Trump administration officials have previously said that a six-year timeline for purchases exceeding $1 trillion has been under discussion.
A final number for the amount of purchases has not been settled, the person said. Kudlow said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his team would remain in Washington for three days and possibly longer. “We`re covering issues that have never really been covered before, including enforcement,” Kudlow said, listing US accusations that Beijing engages in intellectual property theft, forced transfer of technology from US companies doing business in China, cyber hacking, tariffs and non-tariff barriers for commodity trading.
“All making good progress, all making good headway, but we`re not there yet,” he said about those areas. “We hope this week to get closer.” Kudlow said it was significant that China had “acknowledged these problems for the first time. They were in denial.”
Those structural issues along with the way a potential deal would be enforced have been consistent sticking points during months of talks.
The United States and China have levied tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars` worth of two-way trade since July 2018. US President Donald Trump has said he wants a “great deal” with China and has hinted that tariffs could remain in place for some time.
Kudlow said on Wednesday that US charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd had generally not come up during trade talks. Separately, Kudlow also said no decisions have been made on tariffs on auto imports coming from top US allies.