China’s top economic official will visit Washington next week to resume trade talks with the Trump administration, the White House said on Monday, after discussions in Beijing last week yielded no agreement on a long list of U.S. trade demands.
Trump’s administration has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150-billion of Chinese import goods over allegations that Beijing misappropriates U.S. technology through joint-venture requirements, unfair technology licensing practices, outright theft and state-backed acquisitions of U.S. technology firms.
“We are working on something that we think will be great for everybody,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters at a regular news briefing.
“China’s top economic adviser, the vice premier (Liu He), will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the president’s economic team,” she said.
Sanders offered no further details on arrangements for the talks.
In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman did not confirm Liu’s visit, but said China viewed the White House statement positively, and that handling trade issues through consultations served the interests of both countries, as well as of the world.
“We believe this shows the United States’ desire to reach consensus with China on trade issues,” the spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a regular briefing. “This is a positive signal.”
Last week, a seven-member U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin presented Liu and other Chinese officials with a list of demands to tackle allegations of intellectual property theft and other trade policies Washington considers unfair.
Those included slashing the U.S. trade deficit with China by $200-billion, cutting tariffs and eliminating subsidies for advanced technology, according to people familiar with the demands.
China requested that President Donald Trump back off his tariff threats, reassess a Commerce Department ban on U.S. firms selling components and software to Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp and treat Chinese investments equally under U.S. security reviews.
The two sides failed to reach any consensus in two days of talks but agreed to continue discussions.
Trump met the U.S. delegation in Washington over the weekend to assess the meetings. He tweeted that China had “become very spoiled with U.S. trade wins.”
Chinese state media struck an optimistic tone over the weekend, with the English-language China Daily newspaper saying a mechanism to keep an open trade dialogue was a “positive development, despite “big differences.”
China denies that its policies coerce foreign firms to transfer technology to Chinese competitors. It has said its own retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans and aircraft, will go into effect if the U.S. duties are imposed.