Asia Business Channel

Time is running out for the U.S. and China trade talks – can a deal be made?

American business experts are worried that with only one month to go before the U.S. and China trade truce comes to an end, there are many subjects that remain in “discussion” before talks can be completed, and enough progress made before the early-March deadline lapses to stop the U.S. and China from taking their dispute to the next level.

In recent days, both U.S. President Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have expressed optimism that "significant progress" can be achieved during this week's high-level trade negotiations in Washington, but the American business community says that there have been very few signs that the thorny issues affecting the two countries have been addressed.

Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and head of international affairs section, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday that, "I have a sense that on both sides, there is a determination to get a deal done. But the question is: What is the deal?"

The U.S., under the Trump administration has engaged in a bitter tariff fight since last year over a variety of issues including the their bilateral trade imbalance, alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese firms and Beijing's industrial subsidies that put American firms at a disadvantage. China has denied these charges and has accused the U.S. of making false acquisitions without proof.

As the trade talks have progressed over the last 60-days, markets have been on a rollercoaster ride that has seen highs based upon optimism that a long-term deal will be made, followed by crashes after experts and government officials cast doubt whether “real progress” on issues is being made.

The administration of Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping appears to have made a number of concessions to the U.S., including agreeing to buy $1 trillion USD of American products between 2019 ~ 2025, agreeing to lower rates on certain imports and agreeing that U.S. firms do not have to turn over their intellectual property to either business partners or the government as a condition to operate in China.

The U.S. says this is not enough, but has only vaguely indicated what else it wants China to do, or what it is prepared to offer in return. Additional trade talks are scheduled this week and President Trump has said that he plans to Premiere Xi at the end of February and is confident that a deal will be made. Experts are optimistic, but still want to know what deal or deals are being made, and what the specific details of those deals are.

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