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China, U.S. Seek the Small Trade Trap for Trump, Xi to Close at a Summit

BEIJING-Chinese and US traders are focusing this week on making a broad framework of a trade agreement for their presidents to get a possible summit, according to people with knowledge of the matter .

Official holders of trade and economic portfolios for both governments are looking to narrow the still-large gap between concessions China is ready to offer and what the Trump administration will accept . Discussions between midlevel officials began on Monday at the Commerce Ministry of China. Then, a high-level US delegation led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will last two days of talks, beginning Thursday, with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his entourage.

  Vice Premier Liu negotiates high-level statements from Thursday.

Vice Premier Liu He will lead the Chinese businessmen at high-level statements from Thursday.


jim watson / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Both sides hope to have a framework of a deal, said the people, with the aim of completing it at a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The date for such a session is not set. Mr. appeared Trump last week to lead a meeting of March 1 deadline for a deal-then at the beginning suggesting that he plans to meet with the Chinese leader.

If both sides disagree with that time or do not agree to extend the deadline, the tariffs of $ 200 billion of Chinese goods will move to 25% from 10% to 12:01 in the morning, Saturday March 2.

Some of Mr.'s counselors. Trump's more hawkish in trade warned him against a meeting, arguing that market expectations for a deal would reduce his action when a summit was scheduled. After visiting Premier Liu in Washington for a talk at the end of January, Mr. Warned Lighthizer is that if the two sides do not continue this month, he will advise Mr. Trump "that we did not finish" before March 1-suggested tariffs were hiked.

Since then, there have been signs that Mr. Trump has once again reconsidered. "She wants to meet with President Xi soon," senior counseling of White House Kellyanne Conway told Fox News in an interview on Monday. "This president wants a deal."

Top Tuesday morning about prospects of a trade deal, Mr. Trump replies: "We'll see what will happen," he added, adding that he believed China would have an agreement.

Beijing today remains reluctant to give way to the issues it sees as vital to the maintenance of the Communist Party's administration. This includes removing government subsidies from state-owned firms and other policies that reinforce its economic model of state leadership. Washington sees the crucial steps in the gaming field level for American businesses operating in the world's second-largest economy.

U.S. entrepreneurs go to Beijing this week to continue trade talks as a March 1 deadline to reach a deal close. Is an agreement to end the trading horizon on the horizon? Gerald F. Seib of WSJ explained. Photo: Getty

When Mr. Liu is in Washington, Chinese officials have talked about boosting Chinese purchases of US energy products and services and services, expediting the opening up of China's market in sectors such as financial services and manufacturing, and enhancing its protection of intellectual Americans – property rights, according to the people being given in the discussions. The leadership of China sees all the steps that are aligned with the country's own interests.

Sharp divisions remain in such things as how Beijing can address US complaints that are being pressured by Chinese authorities and companies to share technology companies, and Washington's so-called Beijing protectorate industry policies in favor of state-controlled companies at the expense of US competitors.

Beijing denies that there is any official pressure on US businesses to transfer technology. Instead, Chinese officials said that foreign technology companies voluntarily shared in exchange for access to China's markets. The issue of coerced transfer technology is a key reason that the support of US businesses for Beijing has worsened in recent years, with large companies complaining of threats and pressures to restore proprietary information and technology to the partner with chinese.

In a recommendation to Mr. Lighthizer's office last year, the US-China Business Council, a group representing over 200 American businesses shopping in China, proposed several ways Beijing could meet such concerns. One installs independent, transparent regulatory panels that will not expose the trade secrets provided by foreign companies as they sometimes say what is happening to the board of experts currently reviewing the new products in advance of commercial production.

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] Another challenge facing both sides is how to ensure that the Beijing adheres to its promises. US officials complaining about China's poor follow-up record, pushing provisions that may allow Washington to re-pay the tariffs on Chinese goods if Beijing does not fail some milestones- " snap-back "in trade lingo-or leave area levies and gradually eliminate them if they meet Beijing agree on the yardsticks.

Chinese entrepreneurs have pushed back to the same ideas, saying that these mechanisms violate China's sovereign rights. US former firms said the implementation of the snap-back could be more enjoyable in Beijing.

Wendy Cutler, a former Asian businesswoman for the US Trade Representative office, has agreed to Korea in this provision to the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement on vehicles. It is easier to deal with snap-backs than to leave tariffs in place until Beijing hits some exemplars, he says, as the questions of compliance are usually unclear and reimposing the tariffs are politically difficult for the US

Both Washington and Beijing have economic incentives to prevent tariff resistance from worse. The economy of China is faster than officials expect, with more than half of the 31 provinces in the country that have not achieved their growth targets last year. That is partly due to the 10% tariffs imposed by the US in September on half of China's US-bound exports, over 25% of the tariffs imposed on $ 50 billion in Chinese commodities in earlier 2018.

Farmers and other business types On the other hand, the US feels the pinch from Beijing's retirement and China's economic slowdown. "The trade truce will not take place unless the parties are unaware of no win in trade war," said Yu Yongding, a member of the Chinese Economists 50 Forum, a think tank that advised Chinese policymakers.

Write to Lingling Wei at lingling.wei@wsj.com and Bob Davis at bob.davis@wsj.com

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