US, China dampen expectations as trade talks open

US, China dampen expectations as trade talks open

"President Trump is of the view that it's now time for action".

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said that changes to China's centralised economic system will not be a goal of the coming trade talks in Beijing later this week, but he hopes China will open itself more to foreign competition.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He attends the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. He said in an open meeting in March that during his visit to Washington both sides agreed there can not be a full-out tariff war.

The trade talks to be held from May 3 to May 4 in Beijing will have the U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will represent China.

The first round of threatened tariffs under the USA government's "Section 301" intellectual property probe focused heavily on technology products benefiting from the "Made in China 2025" programme to upgrade China's domestic manufacturing base with more advanced products.

The first round of US$50 billion in threatened tariffs under USTR's "Section 301" intellectual property probe focused heavily on technology products benefiting from the 2025 program.

China, which denies it coerces such technology transfers, has threatened retaliation in equal measure, including tariffs on US soybeans and aircraft.

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A U.S. trade delegation led by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin is set to visit China on Thursday and Friday, Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV has confirmed.

Lighthizer said it would be "madness" for the United States to keep allowing Chinese-state backed firms to buy up USA technology companies, especially as China prohibits such acquisitions by US firms.

But the divergent USA trade delegation is likely to have differing views on the merits of such an offer. He will be joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Additional tariffs on aluminum and steel will also impact China more than other countries.

"Navarro and Lighthizer are there to ensure that there isn't any incrementalism, that nobody gets taken in by an offer to drop a few tariffs or to open a few sectors that the Chinese were planning to open anyway", said Claire Reade, a Washington trade lawyer and former assistant USTR for China affairs.

United States officials are concerned about Beijing's "Made in China 2025" industrial policy which they see as a Chinese plan to dominate key high tech industries.

China and the United States are the world's top two economies.

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