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Trade talks move into the endgame in Beijing

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 30, 2019 - Duration: 02:17s

Trade talks move into the endgame in Beijing

U.S. negotiators are in Beijing to try to hammer out details to end the two countries' trade war, including the shape of an enforcement mechanism, the success or failure of which could set the trajectory of ties for years to come.

Ed Giles reports.

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Trade talks move into the endgame in Beijing

The U.S. trade team are back in Beijing hammering out the final details for what could be a U.S-China trade deal.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sat down with China's own trade delegation on Tuesday (April 30).

The talks will zero in on a number of issues including intellectual property and forced technology transfers.

And on Tuesday, Mnuchin was upbeat.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN, SAYING: "We've made a lot of progress.

We look forward to the meetings here." But there's also the potential for major snags, like over how such a complex deal would be enforced.

Reuters' Michael Martina explains from Beijing.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, MICHAEL MARTINA SAYING: "The real sticking points still seem to be what kind of enforcement mechanism the deal will achieve and whether or not tariffs will remain as leverage in that deal.

Now US officials including Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer have suggested that keeping some tarrifs or keeping the prospect of applying tariffs at a later date would help the United States ensures that China lives up to its commitments under a deal." The trade spat between Washington and Beijing is now entering its second year.

It has cost both economies billions of dollars, and roiled financial markets.

Many observers say a deal that suits both sides is key to getting the trade relationship back on track.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, MICHAEL MARTINA SAYING: "There are many watchers and analysts of China-US relations believe that one of the worst-case scenarios could be for the two sides to reach some agreement, and then weeks/months down the road to have that agreement fall apart.

The fear there is that if both sides spent months and months negotiating a deal, and then whether it's the US or China triggers an enforcement mechanism, it could you know draw a retaliation from that side.

And then going through such a protracted negotiation process, if that happens, it may sink confidence that talks or negotiations could help resolve future disputes." China's top trade representative, Liu He, is set to travel to Washington for more talks beginning on May 8.

And just last week, President Trump hinted at a possible White House meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

It's a summit that many say would be the final step in cementing a trade agreement that will last.

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