U.S.-China Trade Talks End With Little Visible Progress
BEIJING — High-level talks between American and Chinese officials ended in Beijing on Friday afternoon with no immediate announcement from either side, according to an American government official, as two weeks remain until President Trump’s deadline for a resolution of the United States trade conflict with China.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had made progress in resolving any of the thorny issues separating the two sides. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are not public.
Mr. Lighthizer and Mr. Mnuchin are expected to meet with Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, later Friday afternoon.
The two sides have been struggling with more than 100 issues raised by the United States in a lengthy statement given to Chinese officials in May. In the preparations for this week’s talks, the sides had been unable even to agree on a draft framework for the broad outlines of a possible deal, so expectations for any comprehensive settlement had been low from the start.
Many of the issues, like how to handle the tech sector, have been festering between the United States and China for a long time. Many high-tech issues are also changing and evolving along with the sector, making it especially difficult to put in place a durable agreement.
“Particularly in the areas of technology regulation and standards, it will be a game of Whac-a-Mole at best,” said James Green, who was the top trade official at the United States Embassy in Beijing until August and is now a senior nonresident fellow at Georgetown University.
The United States had given China a March 2 deadline toward reaching a deal and threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent. But Mr. Trump suggested this week that he could give China more time if the talks showed progress.