Ahead of China trip, Lighthizer makes no predictions


A top-level US trade delegation is travelling to Beijing for talks on Thursday and Friday amid a festering dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The most likely outcome for tense US-China trade talks launching on Thursday is an agreement to keep talking, with US President Donald Trump maintaining his threat to press ahead with punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, Reuters reports, citing trade experts.

A USA trade delegation led by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin is set to visit China on Thursday and Friday, Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV has confirmed.

Consultation between China and the United States on economic and trade issues will be constructive as long as the USA delegation comes with sincerity, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wednesday.

China and the United States are the world's top two economies.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters the talks would be constructive so long as the United States came in good faith. However, he also noted that if a trade agreement can not be reached then the proposed tariffs on Chinese imports would go into effect.

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However, owing to the complex nature and sheer size of the relationship, it was not really very realistic to expect everything to be resolved simply with just one round of talks, she said.

The Chinese official said Beijing would not accept talks with any preconditions on these or other issues.

But the divergent U.S. trade delegation group is likely to have differing views on the merits of such an offer.

The so-called Section 301 investigation tariffs could be imposed sometime in June after the end of a public comment process. "This won't be, suddenly in Beijing, a breathtaking release (that) everything is solved".

Trump administration officials have called for a $100 billion reduction in the United States' $375 billion trade deficit with China, a reduction in China's vehicle tariffs, and more USA access to the Asian nation's vast markets.