Trade talks between the US and China have broken up without a deal, with the US warning that “very difficult issues” remain unresolved. The talks in China this week were aimed at securing a new deal before further US tariffs are imposed on 1 March. China said negotiations would now continue in the US next week.
We feel that we have to make headway on some very, very important and very difficult issues, said top US trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer. However, he said he was hopeful of progress.
President Xi Jinping said he hoped talks next week would continue to work hard to promote a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement.
The two countries have been locked in an escalating trade war, imposing duties on billions of dollars worth of one another's goods. In December, both countries agreed to halt new tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks.
The US has said it will increase tariff rates on US$ 200bn worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% if the two sides do not strike a deal by 1 March.
But President Trump recently hinted that this deadline could be extended if they are making good progress in negotiations with China.
Washington is pressing Beijing to make changes to its economic policies, which it says unfairly favor domestic companies through subsidies and other support.
The US has also accused the government of supporting technology theft as part of its broader development strategy. It wants to bring down its large trade deficit with the Asian powerhouse and wants China to buy more US goods.
China has proposed to increase purchases of US goods, such as semiconductors and soybeans, but is unlikely to let up on its economic development model, according to media reports.
There is also a sense among some in China that the US is using the trade war to contain its rise, as the two superpowers jostle for global leadership. Countries elsewhere have also become wary of China's rise. Several governments have blocked telecoms companies from using equipment made by Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, in next-generation 5G mobile networks due to security concerns.