BEIJING (Reuters) – US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday that he had a "productive working dinner" the previous night in Beijing and concluded a day of negotiations to resolve the bitter trade conflict between the world's two largest economies.
FILE PHOTO: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, member of the US Trade Delegation, speaks to the media on arrival at a hotel in Beijing, China March 28, 2019. REUTERS / Jason Lee
Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were in the Chinese capital for the first two-page meetings a week after missing an initial goal at the end of March for a US-President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign a pact.
"We had a very productive work dinner last night and we're looking forward to meeting today," Mnuchin said as he left his hotel to meet with Chinese Vice President Liu He, who will be visiting Washington next week to continue the negotiations.
Mnuchin did not elaborate and it was not immediately clear who he had eaten on Thursday night.
Last year, Trump charged $ 250 billion of Chinese imports to force China to change the way it does business with the rest of the world and to open more of China's economy to US companies.
On Thursday, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that Beijing would greatly increase market access for foreign banks and securities and insurance companies and add to speculation that China could soon announce new rules to allow foreign financial corporations to increase their presence at home.
The White House's financial advisor Larry Kudlow said the US could lose some tariffs if a trade deal was achieved while others were held in place to ensure Beijing's compliance.
"We will not give up our leverage," he told reporters in Washington on Thursday.
Mnuchin and Lighthizer met a waiting Liu at Diaoyutai State Guest House just before midnight. 9am on Friday for what China's Ministry of Commerce has said would be a whole day of negotiations.
Among Trump's claims is that Beijing concludes practices that Washington claims result in systematic theft of US intellectual property and forced transfer of US technology to Chinese companies.
U.S. Businesses say they are often pushed to deliver technological know-how to Chinese joint venture partners, local officials or regulators as a condition for doing business in China.
The US government says that technology is often subsequently transferred to and used by Chinese competitors.
The problem has turned out to be tough for dealers, as US officials say China has previously refused to recognize that the problem exists to the extent the US claims, and it makes it difficult to discuss a decision.
China says it has no technology transfer requirements laid down in its laws and such transfers are the result of legitimate transactions.
Reporting by Philip Wen and Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard and Tony Munroe; Editing by Paul Tait & Shri Navaratnam