High level trade talks between the United States and China will resume next week as the world’s top two economies move closer to a deal.
The White House said in a statement late Tuesday that Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for negotiations starting April 30.
Liu He, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, would then lead a delegation to Washington for further talks beginning May 8.
The White House said the talks next week would “cover trade issues including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases, and enforcement.”
The latest round of negotiations have not yet been confirmed by the Chinese side.
Washington and Beijing are believed to be edging towards an agreement that could end a trade war that has dragged on for more than a year and hurt global economic growth. President Donald Trump said earlier this month that any trade deal would be “the granddaddy of them” all and “very monumental.”
China has also expressed optimism that an agreement could be struck soon. Earlier in April, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported that American and Chinese negotiators had “reached new consensus on such important issues as the text of the … trade agreement.”
At issue is whether the two sides can reach an agreement that could lift billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for the United States having the power to take unilateral action to penalize Beijing if it fails to stick to the deal.
Trump and other top administration officials have previously sent strong signals that they plan to keep tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods in place for a “substantial period of time.”
“We have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal,” Trump told reporters last month.
Even in the event of a deal, the two countries are likely to remain unreconciled on certain key political and economic fronts — not least technology.
Over the past 12 months, the Trump administration has been exerting pressure on countries around the world not to use Huawei equipment in building next-generation 5G networks, maintaining that products produced by the Chinese company present a security risk.
In a bid to push back against Washington, Huawei filed a lawsuit in March against the US government, alleging unconstitutional discrimination.
Donna Borak and Ben Westcott contributed to this report.