China Trade Talks Restart as Washington Explores Escalation Options

American and Chinese officials met for the 13th round of trade negotiations on Thursday amid growing expectations of a limited deal that could ease tensions and address some of President Donald Trump’s concerns about China’s economic practices, The New York Times reported.

“We had a very, very good negotiation with China,” Trump said on Thursday afternoon, adding that the two sides would continue discussions on Friday. “It’s going very well.”

But administration officials are separately weighing options that could inflict additional economic pain on Beijing as the United States continues looking for ways to force China to change longstanding rules that have put American companies at a disadvantage.

The ideas under consideration would move the White House’s negotiating tool of choice beyond tariffs toward limiting China’s access to American capital markets and imposing greater scrutiny on its companies, according to people familiar with the discussions, the Times adds.

Administration officials, including members of the National Security Council, have begun pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission to increase scrutiny of Chinese firms. They are also looking for ways to reduce the exposure of American retirement funds to certain Chinese companies.

Many of the efforts have been proceeding independently from the trade talks and are fueled by longer-term considerations of China’s economic and security threats. Some White House advisers now view the escalation options as an additional lever to force China to make the kinds of deep economic concessions that have so far proved elusive in the talks, which have dragged on for more than a year.

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