NPR: U.S.-China Trade Talks Restart Ahead of March Deadline

Chinese shoppers spend their time next to a bench painted with the U.S. flag at the capital city's popular shopping mall in Beijing. During trade talks this week, the two sides face potentially lengthy wrangling over technology and the future of their economic relationship.

January 7, 20197:30 AM ET
MATTHEW S. SCHWARTZ

U.S. and Chinese officials have begun talks aimed at ending the trade war that has imposed hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs over the past year. The U.S. is seeking concessions in Chinese business practices; in exchange it will eliminate tariffs recently imposed on Chinese goods.

“Top administration officials are confident they have enough leverage to win significant changes,” NPR’s Shanghai correspondent Rob Schmitz reports, “including an end to China’s practice of forcing US companies to hand over key technology in return for gaining access to China’s market, and an agreement to buy more products from the U.S.”

If the talks this week between the mid-level U.S. trade officials and their Chinese counterparts go well, senior Chinese officials are likely to head to D.C. in the coming weeks to continue negotiations, Schmitz reports.

Beijing is prepared to buy more American products, Schmitz told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “But what’s going to be difficult for the Chinese side is to level the playing field for U.S. companies inside of China. And to do that properly would require significant changes in how China manages its economy — changes that would put the Chinese government and its state-owned enterprises in a vulnerable position.”

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U.S.-China Trade Talks Restart Ahead of March Deadline
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U.S.-China Trade Talks Restart Ahead of March Deadline
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U.S. and Chinese officials have begun talks aimed at ending the trade war that has imposed hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs over the past year.