US Administration, Chamber of Commerce Optimistic About Trade Talks With China

April 2, 2019 Updated: April 2, 2019

The U.S. administration and a trade industry official both expressed optimism for current trade talks between the United States and China.

The United States and China have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat tariff battle since mid-2018. For months, the two sides have sought to negotiate a trade deal to end the punitive tariffs.

During a speech at an event organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on April 2, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said progress was made during negotiations in Beijing last week.

More discussion between the two countries are due to kick off on April 3, with China‘s lead negotiator to arrive in Washington.

“We expect to do more this week,” Kudlow said.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump, while addressing questions from reporters on April 2 after meeting with the Secretary General of NATO at the White House, said that “China’s [talks are] going very well.”

Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head of International Affairs,  also said on Tuesday that chances are increasing that the United States and China will secure a deal to end a costly trade war, though discussions this week will be critical to resolving stubborn differences about how the deal will be enforced and whether and when the United States will lift hefty tariffs on Chinese goods.

The U.S. administration has imposed import tariffs on Chinese goods to put pressure on Beijing to meet a long list of demands that would rewrite the terms of trade between the two countries.

The demands include changes to China’s policies on intellectual property (IP) theft, technology transfers, industrial subsidies, and other trade barriers.

China‘s Vice Premier Liu He will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week to try to negotiate U.S. demands that China make sweeping changes to its trade policies.

“We’re getting to the point where it’s clear that both governments want a deal. The presidents want a deal, and they need to get through the end-game issues. This is a critical week,” Brilliant told reporters on April 2.

But absent significant process on the “tricky” issues of tariffs and enforcement, the goal to complete a deal in April may be missed, Brilliant said.

The Trump administration and U.S. companies want structural IP and market economy issues addressed, with a way to ensure China follows through on its promises, he said.

U.S. officials favor tariffs as a way to maintain leverage on China and ensure those obligations are met. But it is unlikely that China would agree to an enforcement mechanism that included re-imposition of unilateral U.S. tariffs without the current tariffs being removed, he said.

By David Lawder and Chris Prentice. Epoch Times staff members Emel Akan and Holly Kellum contributed to this report.