BEIJING (Reuters) - A U.S. trade delegation arrived in Beijing on Thursday for key talks over tariffs, with Chinese state media saying China will stand up to U.S. bullying if needed but that it was still better to hash things out around the negotiating table.
A breakthrough deal to fundamentally change China’s economic policies is viewed as highly unlikely during the two-day visit, though a package of short-term Chinese measures could delay a U.S. decision to impose tariffs on around $50 billion worth of Chinese exports.
The discussions, led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, are expected to cover a wide range of U.S. complaints about China’s trade practices, from allegations of forced technology transfers to state subsidies for technology development.
“Thrilled to be here. Thank you,” Mnuchin told Reuters upon arriving at his hotel, when asked if he expected progress. He made no other comments.
As Mnuchin arrived, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “Our great financial team is in China trying to negotiate a level playing field on trade! I look forward to being with President Xi in the not too distant future. We will always have a good (great) relationship!”
Throughout his 2016 election campaign, Trump routinely threatened to impose a 45 percent across-the-board tariff on Chinese goods as a way to level the playing field for American workers. At the time, he was also accusing China of manipulating its currency to gain an export advantage, a claim that his administration has since dropped.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said the delegation planned meet Chinese officials on both days, in