President Donald Trump is due to meet Friday afternoon with China’s top trade negotiator, as talks continue to try to defuse the escalation of the tariff war between the world’s economic superpowers.
The fourth round of talks has been underway all week, with senior officials meeting Thursday and Friday as Trump’s threat to more than double tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods on March 1 looms over the discussions.
The White House said Trump would meet with China’s Vice Premier Liu He, who is leading the delegation from Beijing.
Why This Matters
China’s President Xi Jinping also met with U.S. negotiators last week in Beijing, a sign the two leaders are closely following the high-stakes talks.
Since July, the countries have hit out with tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries and raising fears this could worsen a slowdown in the global economy.
— CNN Business (@CNNBusiness) February 21, 2019
Washington has demanded deep structural changes from Beijing to halt the theft of American technology, as well as the massive subsidies and the advantages granted to state-owned enterprises.
Trump has signaled he could extend the March 1 deadline and said any final agreement likely would be sealed at a meeting with Xi.
Analysts have said it will be tough for Chinese leaders to go along with Trump’s demands and that they are more likely to offer instead to buy huge amounts of U.S. goods to reduce the trade surplus – a politically sensitive issue for Trump who views the trade imbalance as stealing from the United States.
Very few major economists, however, outside of Trump advisor Peter Navarro, seem to agree with Trump’s assessment on the trade imbalance.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is leading the U.S. negotiating team, which also includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
More on the Subject
The escalating trade dispute between the United States and China could hinder the growth of the American economy, the International Monetary Fund warned Thursday.
The latest round of tariffs imposed by both countries could come with a “significant economic cost,” IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said at a briefing in September.
“We expect U.S. growth would also be affected,” he said.