Washington expects ‘significant progress’ in trade talks with China, US’ Steven Mnuchin says

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The US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has said on Monday Washington expects “significant progress” in trade talks this week with China’s vice premier Liu He, but said the two sides will be handling “complicated issues” alongside how to enforce any agreement.

According to Reuters news reports, the talks were scheduled to take place on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, which will include a meeting between the United States President Donald Trump and Liu amid increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The US justice department has on Monday, unsealed criminal charges against China’s Huawei and its CEO Meng Wanzhou alleged for bank fraud and violating the US sanctions on Iran. Meanwhile, China formally threatened US tariffs on Chinese goods in the World Trade Organization’s conflict settlement system.

At a news conference, the US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross insisted that Huawei charges are “law enforcement actions and are wholly separate from our trade negotiations with China”.

The Huawei indictment comes as China’s vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen along with Liu were already in Washington preparing for a meet, a person, known to discussions said.

While speaking at a White House news conference, Mnuchin said the two countries were trying to handle “complicated issues” with including ways to verify enforcement of Chinese reform progress in any deal with Beijing.

Mnuchin said, “We want to make sure that when we get a deal, that deal will be enforced.” He added, “The details of how we do that are very complicated. That needs to be negotiated. But IP (intellectual property) protection, no more forced joint ventures, and enforcement are three of the most important issues on the agenda.”

Mnuchin added that “significant movement” had been seen in their talks so far and expect more after their meetings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, around 30 days before their further negotiations as March 2 was a deadline for increasing US tariffs on the Chinese goods.

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