US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the recent court case against telecommunications company Huawei should not be “confused” with the high-level trade negotiations between US and Chinese officials due to start on Wednesday, as tensions between the two countries remain on edge.
“You can easily separate these issues,” said Mnuchin, according to Financial Times reports. “We are focused on unfair economic practices… violations of US law or US sanctions are going through a separate track.”
Liu He, Chinese vice-premier and chief economic adviser, arrived in Washington earlier this week for the talks. Despite Beijing’s rejection of the US’s indictments against Huawei publicised on Monday, Liu has not commented on any potential impact on the negotiations.
Mnuchin added that he expects progress to be made this week, though “complicated issues” are on the agenda. A failure to make headway in this latest round will severely damage hopes of a resolution being reached by March 1, when the US has promised to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%.