Despite progress made in Beijing, US negotiators want China to agree to regular check-ups on reforms and shorter timelines for rectifying trade imbalance.

Iran Press/Asia: US President Donald Trump said that positive progress has been made towards a trade deal with China amid media reports that US negotiators are insisting Beijing agrees to regular check-ups on its reforms and shorter timelines for rectifying the trade imbalance, according to the South China Morning Post.

Following vice-ministerial level talks in Beijing earlier this month, US president said on Saturday that a deal 'could very well happen' after a 'very extraordinary number of meetings', though he denied reports that US tariffs on Chinese products might soon be lifted.

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“If we make a deal, certainly we would not have sanctions and if we don’t make a deal, we will,” he said, adding “It’s going well; I would say about as well as it could possibly go.”

His comments came ahead of Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He’s trip to Washington on January 30 and 31, where he is expected to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for top-level talks.

The two countries are more than halfway through a 90-day tariff truce–brokered by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of December–but tariffs remain in place on billions of dollars worth of goods on both sides. And the US has said it will go ahead with raising duties to 25 percent from 10 percent on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods if an agreement is not reached.

The upcoming trade talks in Washington may also be hampered by domestic issues. The USTR said on Monday that it had run out of funds as a result of the US government shutdown, and would operate with only about 30 percent of its full-time employees.

The two countries have been in a trade war for much of 2018, shaking world financial markets as the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods between the world’s two largest economies has been disrupted by tariffs.

Trump and Xi agreed to a ceasefire in the trade war, deciding to hold off on imposing more tariffs for 90 days starting December 1 while they negotiate a deal to end the dispute following months of escalating tensions.


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