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China’s Liu He to lead high-level trade delegation to US amid optimism

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China’s Liu He to lead high-level trade delegation to US amid optimism

liue he trade negotiations
liue he trade negotiations
Photo: Reuters

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will lead a delegation to Washington DC today for the start of two days of high-level trade negotiations. President Donald Trump is expected to meet Liu He on Thursday—probably to declare a success of some kind.

Mid-level officials held talks in Beijing earlier this month, which appeared to show some signs of progress on some basic issues, like the resumption of Chinese purchases of US agricultural and energy products.

However, the trade dispute is complex and multi-layered, with the deficit and resulting tariffs being the tip of the iceberg. Deeper issues include US accusations that Beijing forces foreign companies to transfer strategic, commercially-sensitive technologies to Chinese firms as a requisite for them to gain access to the lucrative Chinese market. Intellectual property rights protection and the existence of state-backed cyberattacks to gain commercial secrets are also at issue. Beijing rejects all of these accusations.

With just over a month left until the trade war truce expires and further tariffs are levied by the US on $200 billion worth of goods, the Chinese negotiators are expected to come to DC with a proposed settlement. However, while it is probable that an announcement of success of some sort will be made come Thursday, it likely to be a shallow stopgap. The structural changes to China’s industrial policy desired by the US and its partners remain highly unlikely over the medium-term.

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