Deputy-level trade talks between the US and China aimed at laying the groundwork for high-level negotiations later this week have failed to yield any progress on critical issues. According to sources, during the discussions on Monday and Tuesday in Washington, the Chinese refused to talk about forced technology transfers, which is a core US grievance regarding China’s economic policies. It said that talks had also skirted the issue of state subsidies, which the Trump administration says give Chinese companies an unfair advantage over international competitors.
Deputy-level negotiators, led on the Chinese side by vice-minister for finance Liao Min, spent the time focusing on only two areas: agricultural purchases and intellectual property protection. “They have made no progress,” said another source familiar with the talks, adding that the Chinese side had not made headway in persuading US negotiators to consider a freeze on tariff increases, a main priority for Beijing. Tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese goods are set to increase from 25 to 30 per cent on Tuesday, while fresh duties of 15 per cent on US$160 billion of largely consumer products will go into effect on December 15. The source said the Chinese delegation may leave Washington earlier than expected.