With the March 1 deadline approaching for either an agreement or the escalation of tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the US and China appear to still be far apart on key issues, Reuters reported after consulting sources familiar with the talks.
US President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a ceasefire in their trade war at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires last year, setting a 90-day period to discuss differences and agree on a deal. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Reuters that forced technology transfers, IP theft and ownership restrictions remain top priorities for the Americans.
In an interview with a Reuters correspondent, one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “ We’re not yet in a position where our concerns have been addressed sufficiently.” The official went on to say that the Trump team, led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, was also focused on trade imbalances.
Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explained to Reuters, “Chinese officials pledged to buy enough U.S. products to wipe out the U.S-China trade deficit at talks in Beijing earlier this month but also hedged its position, saying it depended on the demands of Chinese companies.”
China has offered more than $1.2 trillion in additional commitments on trade Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told a reporter last month. Still, that is not sufficient for Trump or his hardline team.
The Chinese have indicated they feel they already addressed U.S. concerns about intellectual property rights through a new law and other actions, Kennedy explained. “There’s progress in that the two sides are talking. But I look at it like this: there’s still nothing agreed on in writing,” said one source familiar with the discussions.
Barring progress at the end of the 90-day period, the Trump administration is scheduled to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from the current 10 percent to 25 percent.