China trade talks underway as Huawei tensions grow

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (C), also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin jointly chair the opening ceremony of a new round of high-level economic and trade consultations in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 14, 2019.

The two USA cabinet officials will meet with Xi on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source briefed on the arrangements.

But global stocks rose after Trump's hint of a deadline extension.

Trump's comments echoed those of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who earlier told reporters in Beijing: "So far, so good", when asked about the progress of talks.

However, two days of talks starting Thursday allow too little time to resolve the war over Beijing's technology ambitions that threatens to drag on weakening global economic growth, businesspeople and economists said.

US tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides don't reach a deal by the deadline, increasing pressure and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture.

Since then China has offered to close its trade surplus with the USA by buying more soyabeans and other commodities, but the Trump administration is pushing for a more comprehensive agreement that addresses intellectual property theft, technology transfer and state-owned enterprises. "President Trump and President Xi sitting down face-to-face figuring that out and getting that final deal because they are the only two that will ultimately be able to nail that down". Trump said last week they plan to meet, but not before the March 1 deadline.

Mr. Trump's December agreement to postpone more tariff hikes while the two sides negotiate expires March 1.

Washington is demanding far-reaching changes to Chinese practices that it says are unfair, including theft of United States technology and intellectual property, and myriad barriers that foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market.

The Chinese government has offered few details about the state of negotiations this week.

China's exports rebounded in January from a contraction late a year ago amid trade tensions with Washington, but imports declined.

Trump met with Liu at the White House when a Chinese delegation came to Washington for talks at the end of January.

A growing number of U.S. businesses and lawmakers have expressed hopes for a delay in the tariff increase while the two sides tackle the hard USA demands for major structural policy changes by China.

The Global Times struck a confident pose in an editorial late on Wednesday, saying that though Washington had started the trade fight, it "was now more willing to reach an agreement".

Mrs Sanders said: "We'll see what happens on whether or not the president makes a move to change the deadline".