America and China are seeking to reach an agreement before the deadline set by Trump

Arab and international

Economy News _ Baghdad

US and Chinese negotiators held more than seven hours of talks on Saturday to resolve trade disputes between the two countries and avoid an escalation in the tariff exchange, which has already disrupted world trade, slowed the global economy and strained financial markets.

The two sides will meet again on Sunday morning as they try to reach an agreement before the deadline set by US President Donald Trump, who threatened a dramatic increase in tariffs on Chinese goods unless an agreement is reached by March 1.

Saturday was the fifth consecutive day of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.

The talks were extended until the weekend after the two sides announced progress in narrowing their differences.

The Chinese delegation is due to leave for Beijing on Monday, said a person familiar with the delegation’s route.

It was the fourth round of negotiations since Washington and Beijing agreed to a truce in their trade war.

Trump pursued the policy of “America First” aimed at rebalancing world trade in favor of the United States.

Trump said on Friday there was “a very good chance” for an agreement and was determined to extend a deadline for customs duties on March 1 and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping soon.

The extension of the deadline would mean suspending a planned increase of US $ 200 billion in tariffs on US imports from China to 25 percent from 10 percent now.

This would prevent a war of trade that has already disrupted commodity trade by hundreds of billions of dollars, slowed the growth of the global economy and hit markets.

Trump and Treasury Secretary Stephen Menuchin said both sides had reached agreement on currency issues, but did not elaborate. US officials have long said the Chinese yuan is undervalued, giving China a trade advantage and offsetting part of US tariffs.

China has also pledged to buy 10 million more US soybeans.

Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that the two sides are preparing memorandums of understanding on electronic theft, intellectual property rights, services, agriculture and trade without customs duties, including subsidies.

Trump said on Friday that those memorandums of understanding were not appealing because they were short-lived and he wanted a long-term agreement.

A source familiar with the talks said the two sides narrowed their differences over intellectual property rights, market access and cut the US trade deficit with China to about $ 400 billion. But there are still more disagreements over China’s chances of China’s state-owned enterprises, subsidies, forced technology transfer and electronic theft.

There is no agreement on the mechanism of implementation as well. The United States wants a strong mechanism to ensure China’s commitment to reform, while Beijing insists on what it calls a “just and objective” process.

“Application is a difficult puzzle,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the group. “You need two objective arbitrators to make a decision.”

Trump said the biggest decisions could be taken when he met with the Chinese president, possibly in Florida next month, and those decisions could extend beyond trade to Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE Corp.

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