US reaches out to China to engage in high-level trade talks to end the row

  Jan.17--THE United States is confident that China's top trade negotiator may visit Washington this month, signalling that higher-level talks are expected to follow the recent meetings with mid-ranking officials in Beijing.

  "The current intent is that the Vice Premier Liu will most likely come and visit us later in the month and I would expect the government shutdown would have no impact," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters in Washington. "We will continue with those meetings just as we sent a delegation to China."

  People familiar with the talks in Beijing said that hopes were mounting that Mr Liu would continue talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mr Mnuchin, reported CNBC.

  Over halfway through a 90-day truce in the US-China trade dispute agreed on December 1 when Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the G20 summit in Argentina, there have been few details provided of any progress made.

  Mr Trump has vowed to increase tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports on March 2 if China fails to take steps to protect US intellectual property, end policies that force American companies to turn over technology to a Chinese partner, allow more market access for US businesses and lower other non-tariff barriers to American products.

  The timeline is seen as ambitious but the resumption of face-to-face negotiations has bolstered hopes of a deal.

  "We have the two sides back at the table. That's encouraging," US Chamber of Commerce head of international affairs Myron Brilliant told reporters at an event last week.

  China's Commerce Ministry said that additional consultations with the United States were being arranged after the Beijing talks addressed structural issues and helped establish a foundation to resolve US and Chinese concerns.

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