US and China trade officials set to hold critical negotiations



James Politi and Tom Mitchell | The Financial Times

Washington is demanding Beijing make ‘structural’ changes in key areas as tariffs deadline looms

It is crunch time for the US-China trade talks. By the time Liu He, China’s top economic official, visits Washington next week to meet Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, and the rest of Donald Trump’s negotiating team, the sides will have one month left to strike a deal or face an escalation of tariffs.

Since Mr Trump and Xi Jinping, China’s president, launched the talks over a steak dinner in Buenos Aires on December 1, officials have made some progress in one area that the US leader has often lamented: boosting China’s purchases of US goods to narrow the trade deficit between the countries. 

But that is a secondary issue compared with the main sources of commercial tension between the world’s two economic superpowers. The US is demanding “structural” changes to Chinese economic policies on everything from the plundering of American intellectual property to discrimination against US companies and Beijing’s rampant subsidisation of certain industries.

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