Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Top US Officials Arrive in China for Trade Talks as Deadline Looms

The Trump administration is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address commercial practices that it says are deeply unfair World War 3 news: China response expected after US warship movements | Daily Star
Nellie Chapman | 14 February, 2019, 12:42

Xi is scheduled to meet key members of the U.S. delegation, including trade representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in Beijing on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people.

The meeting is likely to be another effort to clinch a trade deal with the United States heading into the March 1 tariff deadline.

With less than a month before a March 1 deadline for either a deal or an increase in US tariffs, hardliners inside and outside the administration have expressed concern Trump is being outplayed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and seduced by what they see as empty promises.

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

Beijing and Washington remain at loggerheads over United States allegations for China's militarisation of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet top American officials in Beijing this week, a report said on Wednesday, as the world's two biggest economies rush to patch up their trade differences amid threats of an expanded trade war. "We're looking forward to several important days of talks", Mnuchin said to reporters.

The rate on all those imports are set to increase to 25 percent if no agreement is reached by March 1.

"From their point of view, they would have dodged a bullet", Green, who was USTR's top official at the USA embassy in Beijing until mid-2018, told Reuters by telephone. She also hinted at a location for the meeting, saying its very possible the two leaders will hold a summit at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort.

The first source added that the host country would hold a banquet for the U.S. delegation in a Chinese restaurant, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would attend the event.

Two US Navy destroyers conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea on Monday, challenging China's claims to the Spratly Islands.

Both the Chinese government and Huawei have dismissed these concerns.

Other possible sites include Beijing or Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where the two met in April 2017, the US news website Axios reported, citing Trump administration officials. Just earlier this month, Lighthizer said: "I'm expecting that we have one deadline and that's March 1 at midnight".

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