US, China begin trade talks centred around tech rivalry

Chip Wars: Tech rivalry underlines US-China trade conflict

Analysts Hopeless Over the Trade Talks Between the US and Chinese Government

The discussions, led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, are expected to cover a wide range of U.S. complaints about China's trade practices, from accusations of forced technology transfers to state subsidies for technology development.

Trump is seeking to cut the American trade deficit with China - totaling $375 billion (€313 billion) past year - by $100 billion and gain concessions over policies that force foreign companies to share technology with Chinese partners.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are also attending.

Nonetheless, bipartisan support for countering China's trade practices has grown in Washington, where policymakers increasingly voice a need to inflict some cost upon Beijing for what they see as predatory state capitalism.

The group was expected to depart in the evening.

US government numbers released Thursday showed the USA trade deficit with China fell 11.6 percent in March to $26 billion.

Earlier the US placed tariffs against the Chinese on steel and aluminum and the Chinese responded with tariffs of their own on USA pork and soybeans. The U.S. officials are hoping to find solutions to the current trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

At this point, not many expect a substantial breakthrough in the negotiations given its limited 2-day schedule and of course, the bull-headed stance of the parties involved.

USA complaints about Chinese intellectual property (IP) abuses are at the core of the current dispute.

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U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that China has unfair trade policies that hurt the U.S. economy and its workers.

For some Chinese officials, Trump's demands are also an indication of United States unease about China's rise as an economic and military power, which has grown amid Beijing's recently announced strategy to overtake western industry leaders in advanced technologies.

In preparing for the long haul, Beijing is trying to line up alternative supplies, especially of soybeans, having pledged to impose retaliatory levies on US farm products should Washington follow through on its tariff threats against China.

Under president Xi, a program known as "Made in China 2025" aims to make the country a tech superpower by advancing development of industries that include semiconductors, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals and electric vehicles.

Analysts say Beijing is unlikely to cede any ground on policies meant to help close that gap.

Asked about the talks, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying said they had just begun and she had no information.

"Navarro and Lighthizer are there to ensure that there isn't any incrementalism, that nobody gets taken in by an offer to drop a few tariffs or to open a few sectors that the Chinese were planning to open anyway", said Claire Reade, a Washington trade lawyer and former Assistant USTR for China affairs.

Xi has promised to raise the foreign ownership limits in the automobile, shipbuilding and aircraft sectors "as soon as possible" and push previously announced measures to open the financial sector.

Differences over trade policy and market access have been a persistent concern for the United States and other foreign investors in China. But increased import tariffs and quotas that would slow China's economic growth will have a domino effect on the rest of the world that would ultimately come back to bite America's behind.

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