USA and Chinese negotiators on Wednesday opened two days of high-level talks aimed at settling a trade war that has weakened both economies, shaken financial markets and clouded the outlook for global trade.
Trump tweets the meetings are "going well with good intent and spirit on both sides", even though the odds seem stacked against any substantive resolution.
US President Donald Trump warned today that a trade deal with China would be unacceptable unless Beijing opened its markets to US financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and other industries.
By declaring that "NOTHING" would be left unresolved he also set a high bar for what could be accomplished in the next month before a March 1 deadline when tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports are set to more than double.
Trump, meanwhile, has seen his public approval ratings battered by the partial government shutdown and is said to worry about the tariff war's impact upon USA financial markets.
Both The Wall Street Journal and CNBC reported that the possible meeting could take place right after a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and just before the U.S.
The talks began two days after the United States charged Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, with conspiring to violate USA sanctions on Iran by doing business through a subsidiary it tried to hide. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday said it expected that Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum, and Chinese goods would cut the US's real gross domestic product by at least 0.1 per cent on average through 2029.
The last round of US-China talks led by Deputy USTR Jeffrey Gerrish in Beijing earlier this month, ended with no progress on IP practices and technology transfer issues, which are the US's main concerns in the trade war that has roiled financial markets for months.
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U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the global trade body if it doesn't "shape up".
There is widespread scepticism that the two sides can reach a substantive deal by the 1 March deadline.
US officials and some analysts say they believe its weakening economy will pressure the Chinese into making concessions.
The dispute comes after U.S. officials accused China of unfair trade practices, including the alleged theft of American intellectual property through hacking.
Chinese officials have said their policies do not coerce technology transfers.
The administration has already imposed tariffs on some $250 billion in Chinese imports.
The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) expedited its review of the foreign investment law, which was meant to serve as a bargaining chip for trade negotiations, according to Xie Tian, a professor at the University of SC. Critics dismissed Beijing's commitments as vague, and Trump backed away from Mnuchin's deal and made a decision to proceed with tariffs. This could maintain the threat of US tariffs on Chinese goods for the long term.
USA officials insist that the Huawei case is entirely separate from the trade negotiations.