BEIJING: On Thursday, US and Chinese negotiators kicked off two days of high-level trade talks in Beijing hoping to resolve a festering dispute that has cast a shadow over financial markets and the global growth outlook. Pressure to seal an accord ahead of a March 1 deadline set by Donald Trump appears to have eased slightly after the US president indicated he was open to extending a trade truce depending on progress in Beijing.
Earlier, Trump in December postponed plans to sharply hike tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to allow more time for negotiation. The two economic superpowers have already imposed duties on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, which has weighed on their manufacturing sectors and shaken global financial markets.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are meeting with China's top economic czar Liu He, seeking to build on progress made in Washington last month.We are "looking forward to discussions today," Mr Mnuchin said as he left his hotel Thursday morning for the talks.
Expectations for a trade deal have grown as China faces pressure from slowing economic growth, and as swooning global markets rattle Trump and his economic advisors. Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet with the US officials in Beijing this week, a report in the South China Morning Post said Wednesday, bolstering hopes for the talks and markets in Asia. Trump also has said he expects to meet with Xi Jinping "at some point" to clinch a trade deal.