U.S.-China Trade Talks Nearing End with Many Questions Unanswered

The American business community has begun expressing concerns over the multitude of unanswered questions remaining in the trade war between China and the United States, as the two countries are nearing the end of their trade truce, due to lapse in early March.

Businesses are unsure the world’s two largest economies can achieve enough progress, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressing optimism that negotiators can make “significant progress” during this week’s high-level trade talks in Washington.

“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?” Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president and head of international affairs, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a trade fight since last year over a number of issues, including the U.S. trade deficit with China, subsidies in the country which have put American businesses at a disadvantage and alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese firms, which Beijing has repeatedly denied. As a result, the two countries imposed millions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on each other’s products.

The dispute was temporarily put on hold on December 1, following a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

However, the U.S. business community has seen little progress that issues affecting them would be resolved any time soon.

“We hear rumblings or rumors there are some offers (by the Chinese delegation to Washington) around IP (intellectual property) enforcement, around the other sensitive issues. However, we’re not yet hearing progress in areas that are important for business as well as to the administration,” said Brilliant, adding that he would like to see progress on issues such as industrial subsidies and forced transfer of technology.

But he is not the only one expressing concerns about the lack of progress made between the trade negotiators of the two countries, CNBC writes. The U.S.-China Business Council likewise raised concerns about the likelihood of any breakthroughs from this week’s negotiations.

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