Chinese trade officials concluded their visit to Washington, DC, meeting with U.S. counterparts with whom they discussed structural issues in the U.S. section 301 report and attempts to achieve general goals in the trade relationship.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement issued late Thursday:
We concluded two days of discussions with counterparts from China and exchanged views on how to achieve fairness, balance, and reciprocity in the economic relationship, including by addressing structural issues in China such as those identified in the Section 301 report. We appreciated the Chinese delegation coming to the United States to participate in these meetings. The U.S. delegation will be briefing their principals on the discussions.
Senior U.S. and Chinese trade officials had held meetings in both Beijing and Washington, DC, earlier this year, but those talks came to a halt as tariff tensions gained traction. The U.S. issued tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on the basis of national security. Those tariffs affected countries around the world, but also implicated China’s steel dumping practices.
This week’s meetings involved lower level officials than the top trade officials from each country who were involved in the previous trade meetings.
President Donald Trump later threatened more tariffs on Chinese goods if the Chinese did not reform their “unfair” trade practices and halt theft of U.S. intellectual property. He acknowledged the breakdown in trade negotiations between the two nations and in mid-June and directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, in addition to the tariffs on $50 billion already planned. “The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable,” Trump said at the time, bringing up the U.S. trade deficit with China. Trump further indicated the possibility of even more tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods.
All week the U.S. Trade Representative’s office has been conducting hearings on potential additional tariffs on China.