U.S. negotiators are on their way home from Beijing, but the exhaustive negotiations to try to end the U.S.-China trade war will continue almost immediately next week in Washington D.C., the White House announced Friday.
“These detailed and intensive discussions led to progress between the two parties,” the White House said in a statement. “Much work remains, however. Both sides will continue working on all outstanding issues in advance of the March 1 deadline for an increase in the 10 percent tariff on certain imported Chinese goods.”
President Donald Trump has left open the possibility of postponing the deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods go up to 25 percent, but he has also stressed he doesn’t want to do that. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters Thursday no decision has yet been made.
The White House pointed to the fact Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the U.S. team in Beijing led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as a sign the negotiations have been fruitful even though key agreements have not yet been struck.
While the primary goal for much of the U.S. ag sector is to see the trade war conclude and the tariffs scrapped — China has steep retaliatory tariffs on virtually all U.S. ag commodities — there is also hope U.S. negotiators will succeed in getting China to remove a host of tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. farm products.
“Agriculture … is a necessary part of the deal,” USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky said earlier this week, but stressed the primary focus of negotiators will be getting China to “address the long-standing intellectual property concerns of theft, forced technology transfer … for us to have a successful agreement. The Chinese have to be, in our view, a lot more forthcoming … than they have been to date.”
But the White House today also stressed a priority is increasing U.S. exports to China: “The two sides also discussed China’s purchases of United States goods and services intended to reduce the United States’ large and persistent bilateral trade deficit with China.”
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