US trade delegation avoid questions as they head for day two of talks

BEIJING (REUTERS) – Members of a US trade delegation including deputy US trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish left a Beijing hotel on Tuesday (Feb 12) on their way to the second day of talks with Chinese officials.

US and Chinese officials expressed hope on Monday (Feb 11) that this week’s round of talks would bring them closer to easing their seven-month trade war. The world’s two largest economies are trying to hammer out a deal before a March 1 deadline, after which US tariffs on US$200 billion (S$271 billion) worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies’ intellectual property, or IP, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies. Officials have said March 1 is a “real deadline” for reaching a deal.

The talks kicked off in Beijing with discussions among deputy-level officials on Monday before minister-level meetings later in the week. A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported – but no deal and US declarations that much more work was needed.

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