US tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 % from 10 % if the two sides don't reach a deal by the deadline, increasing pressure and costs in sectors from consumer electronics to agriculture.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (C), also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin jointly chair the opening ceremony of a new round of high-level economic and trade consultations in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 14, 2019.
Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet with top US officials in Beijing this week, a report in the South China Morning Post said Wednesday, bolstering hopes for the talks and markets in Asia.
China's trade surplus with the USA narrowed in January even as its American imports plunged, buffeted by a slowing economy and the tariff battle with Washington, official data showed Thursday.
China's imports, however, continued to fall in January, down 1.5 percent from a year earlier, though at a slower pace than a 10.2 percent decline forecast by Bloomberg News.
Mr. Trump has said he did not expect to meet with Mr. Xi prior to March 1, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has raised the possibility of a meeting between the leaders at the president's personal retreat at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
China's Foreign Ministry referred questions on the talks to the Ministry of Commerce, which did not respond to a request for comment. The dispute has spread to include Chinese industry development plans, cyberspying and the countries' lopsided trade balance.
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Mr. Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.
The Chinese government has offered few details about the state of negotiations this week.
The two economic superpowers have already imposed duties on more than US$360 billion in two-way trade, which has weighed on their manufacturing sectors and shaken global financial markets.
Chinese officials reject complaints that foreign companies are required to hand over technology. But business groups and foreign governments point to rules they say compel companies to disclose trade secrets or share technology with state-owned local partners. China's trade surplus with the United States narrowed to US$27.3 billion in January, from US$29.87 billion in December.
The Hong Kong newspaper The South China Morning Post reported Monday the meeting could take place in late March on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
Other possible sites include Beijing or Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where the two met in April 2017, the USA news website Axios reported, citing Trump administration officials.
"We certainly hope not", said Waterman.
"Overall, the figures confirm the global economy is in better shape than originally thought, and that has lifted investor confidence", he said.