China makes unprecedented proposals on tech: US trade talk officials
They have even discussed forced technology transfer, a sensitive topic for China
WASHINGTON: China has made unprecedented proposals in talks with the US on a range of issues including forced technology transfer as the two sides work to end their protracted trade war, US officials said on Wednesday.
US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on US$250 billion (S$340 billion) of Chinese imports last year in a move to force China to change the way it does business with the rest of the world and to prise open more of its economy to US companies.
Among Mr Trump's demands are for Beijing to end practices that Washington alleges result in the systematic theft of US intellectual property and the forced transfer of American technology to Chinese companies.
China put proposals on the table in the talks that went further than in the past, including on technology transfer, said one of four senior US administration officials who spoke to Reuters.
Negotiators have made progress on the details of the written agreements that have been hashed out to address US concerns, he said.
"If you looked at the texts a month ago compared with today, we have moved forward in all areas. We aren't yet where we want to be," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"They are talking about forced technology transfer in a way that they have never wanted to talk about before - both in terms of scope and specifics," he said, referring to Chinese negotiators.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Reuters reported previously that the two sides were working on written agreements in six areas: Forced technology transfer and cybertheft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrive in Beijing yesterday for a new round of talks with Chinese officials to work on a deal that would end a months-long trade war that has cost both sides billions of dollars and hurt global economic growth.
The in-person talks, which will be followed by a round in Washington next week, are the first face-to-face meetings the two sides have held in weeks after missing an initial end-of-March goal for a summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign a pact.
Talks would continue as long as progress is being made on the core issues, the official said.
"It could go to May, June, no one knows. It could happen in April, we don't know," another administration official said.
The two sides still have differences over intellectual property and how to enforce a deal, he said.
China wants the US to lift its tariffs as part of a deal. Washington, which is cognisant that the tariffs give it leverage to ensure Beijing follows through on any commitments it makes, is wary of lifting them right away. - REUTERS