Expect ‘significant progress’ on China trade talks

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday the U.S. expects to make “significant progress” in China trade war negotiations this week.

“The critical issues that we’ve talked about is market access, making sure there aren’t forced joint ventures, not forced transfer of technology, and that we have a mechanism that when we’ve reached an agreement we can monitor this agreement and they’ll live up to it,” Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business. “I expect we’ll make significant progress this week on those issues.”

Chinese representatives are due to meet with a group of White House officials Wednesday and Thursday for the talks. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the discussions, which represent the next step in negotiations begun after the U.S. and China agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war. The tariff cease-fire expires March 2.

Mnuchin was also asked about the criminal charges the U.S. filed against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, but he said that is a separate issue.

“Those are not part of trade discussions, forced technology issues are. … Any issues as it relates to violations of U.S. law or U.S. sanctions are going through a separate track, which is the Justice Department,” Mnuchin said.

“We are focused on what are unfair economic practices.”

In a later interview on Fox Business, top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said President Donald Trump is “moderately optimistic” about reaching a deal before the mutual U.S.-China tariff cease-fire expires March 2.

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