Trump casts doubt on U.S.-China trade deal hopes

Is This the End of the WTO as We Know It

Is This the End of the WTO as We Know It

President Trump is meeting with China's top trade negotiator at the White House Thursday afternoon, with the March 1 deadline for a firm trade deal quickly approaching.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a second day of negotiations Thursday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the highest-level talks since Trump met Xi on December 1 and declared a 90-day truce aimed at reaching a lasting deal to end the trade war.

The U.S. and China - the world's largest economies - engaged in a bitter tariff fight previous year over a number of issues including the their bilateral trade imbalance, alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese firms and Beijing's industrial subsidies that put American firms at a disadvantage.

"China's representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table", Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

U.S. President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019.

Chinese negotiators proposed a meeting between Trump and Xi next month in the Chinese city of Hainan, the Wall Street Journal reported. Beijing shot back by demanding that the Trump administration pull back from what it called an "unreasonable crackdown" on the Chinese maker of smartphones and telecom gear.

The last round of US-China talks led by Deputy USTR Jeffrey Gerrish in Beijing earlier this month, ended with no progress on IP practices and technology transfer issues, which are the US's main concerns in the trade war that has roiled financial markets for months.

Mr Trump has long blamed China's rise as an exporter for a loss of manufacturing and other jobs in the US.

"China's top trade negotiators are in the U.S. meeting with our representatives".

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US officials have demanded that Beijing make deep structural changes to its industrial policies, including broad new protections for American intellectual property and an end to practices that Washington has said force USA companies to transfer technology to Chinese firms in exchange for market access.

Chinese officials deny that their policies coerce technology transfers.

People familiar with the talks said manufactured goods, a key priority for the Trump administration, were among the largest components of Chinese purchase pledges aimed at significantly reducing the USA trade deficit with China.

The administration has imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports; Beijing has retaliated with import taxes on $110 billion in USA goods.

"For the trade talks this week, nothing significant is going to happen", Okun, a trade expert and a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, told CNBC's "Capital Connection" on Thursday.

Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin attended this high-level economic and trade consultations.

But US officials don't believe that this will hinder the trade negotiations.

Mr Trump has also threatened tariffs on an additional $267bn worth of products. This could maintain the threat of USA tariffs on Chinese goods for the long term.

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