Mnuchin: U.S.-China Trade Talks ‘In Final Laps’

China US trade talks
(Photo: REUTERS/Leah Millis)

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on April 29 that the trade talks between the world's dominant economies are in the decisive phase that will determine whether a final agreement is possible.

The secretary and the United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer visited China this week for another round of negotiations with Chinese negotiators starting on April 30. The trade representatives of the two great nations will meet in Washington next week to try to finalize a deal that President Donald Trump demanded to repair his claimed unfair and unbalanced relationship.

He said during an interview with Fox Business Network that he thinks there's a strong desire from China and the United States to see if they can wrap things up or to move on. He added that they are hoping that within the next two rounds of talks in China and in DC to be at the point where they can either recommend to the president they have a deal or make a recommendation that we don't.

President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on more than $250 billion of imports from China during the trade conflict. China retaliated with tariffs amounting to $110 billion in American goods.

According to Mnuchin, the tariffs have been a big part of getting people to the negotiating table. He added that the president's objective is to make sure the two countries have fair and balanced trade.

The United States insists that there should be tough enforcement provisions in any trade pact with China. Mnuchin said that the two sides are close to an agreement on the enforcement provisions. He also assured that the deal covers improved protection for United States technology and trade secrets and China agreed to open its market further for foreign investments.

 He emphasized that the most important is that we have a rebalanced economic relationship. He also pointed out that the United States has been open to them for investment and for goods and they want a reciprocal trading relationship.

According to Elena Bryan, who spent 17 years negotiating trade deals for the Office of the United States Trade Representative and who now runs consultancy Pilot Rock Global Strategies, the United States is pushing hard under a political imperative that keeps changing. She added that Lighthizer is rightly focused on an enforceable agreement but it is very hard to enforce anything under China because the country's system is both complicated and relatively opaque.

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