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Trade talks with China going ‘very well’: Trump as new rounds of negotiations open

President Donald Trump has said trade talks with China are going “very well” as top negotiators from the two countries began the two-day negotiations on Thursday to resolve their tariff war ahead of a March 1 deadline.

The world’s two biggest economies are holding rounds of negotiations to resolve the trade war ahead of a March 1 deadline set by Trump after which US tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese imports are expected to increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are meeting with China’s top economic czar Liu He in Beijing, seeking to build on progress made in talks held in Washington last month.

President Trump has earlier indicated that he is open to extending the deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese products if the two sides are near an agreement.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that his administration has a “big team of people, very talented people” in China to negotiate a deal.

“The economy is doing incredibly well. Numbers are really high, really good. We have a big team of very talented people over in China right now negotiating on the China deal. It’s going along very well, Trump said.

Trump said China is now showing “tremendous respect” to the US.

(This is) something which a lot of countries didn’t used to show the US. They’re showing us respect now. Big difference from the old days, I will tell you that, he said.

“So the deal with China is going very well. The economy is doing fantastically. You saw the Gallup poll that came out: Sixty-nine percent or so say they’re going to be in better shape next year than even this year. And they’re very happy right now, he said, adding it is the best numbers they have had in 16 or 17 years.

“But the economy is strong. We have a lot of companies coming into the United States. They want to come into the US. So we have a lot of good things happening,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of seven top Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday urged President Donald Trump to make sure that any trade agreement with China adequately addresses its “predatory” intellectual property practices and establishes a monitoring and enforcement mechanism to hold China accountable.

In a letter to Trump, the Democratic lawmakers said the US Trade Representative (USTR) has found that despite at least eight previous commitments to stop requiring US companies to transfer technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market, China continues to coerce American firms.

The letter was signed by Senators Robert Menendez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Mark Warner, Maggie Hassan, Ben Cardin, Michael Bennet, and Catherine Cortez Masto.

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