‘Good to see you’: US, Chinese negotiators resume trade talks


BEIJING: Top US and Chinese trade negotiators resumed talks on Wednesday as they close in on a deal to resolve a months-long dispute that has hit businesses with bruising tariffs.

Vice Premier Liu He, a close aide to President Xi Jinping, greeted US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for discussions expected to focus on China’s industrial subsidies.

The world’s two leading economies have exchanged tariffs on $360 billion worth of goods since President Donald Trump launched a trade war last year.

The US side is pressing China to overhaul its industrial policy by further opening its market to foreign firms, stopping massive subsidies to domestic companies and curbing the alleged theft of American technology.

Beijing has made public displays of concessions, with Xi last week saying China would abolish “unjustified regulations, subsidies and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market”.

China has also passed a foreign investment law that promises to protect the intellectual property of overseas companies.

Liu had dinner with his American counterparts on Tuesday night ahead of an of a full day of talks.

Mnuchin and Lighthizer exchanged pleasantries with Liu when they arrived at the Diaoyutai state guest house on Wednesday, with the US treasury chief pointing to his red tie and smiling at the vice premier, who wore the same colour.

“Morning, good to see you,” Liu told the Americans, who responded in kind before going into the closed-door talks.