U.S.’ Mnuchin says expects progress in China trade talks

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He attends the opening ceremony of the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday the United States expects to make significant progress this week in trade talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who will later meet with President Donald Trump.

Mnuchin, speaking to reporters at a White House news conference, said the two sides were trying to tackle “complicated issues,” including a way to verify enforcement of China’s reform progress in any deal with Beijing.

The Treasury chief, who will be among the top U.S. officials at the negotiating table, said Chinese officials had acknowledged the need for such a verification mechanism.

“We want to make sure that when we get a deal, that deal will be enforced,” Mnuchin said. “The details of how we do that are very complicated. That needs to be negotiated. But IP (intellectual property) protection, no more forced joint ventures, and enforcement are three of the most important issues on the agenda.”

Mnuchin added that there had been “significant movement” in the talks so far, and there will be around 30 days for further negotiations after the meetings in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday to reach an agreement before a March 2 deadline for increasing U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Earlier, the White House said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would lead the talks for the American side, with participation from Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and White House trade and manufacturing adviser Peter Navarro.

It said the meetings will take place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by James Dalgleish

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