The two sides have begun to hash out a trade agreement addressing the most sensitive issues that have hampered progress so far, sources told Reuters, as the March 1 deadline fast approaches.
Last week’s meetings in Beijing were celebrated by representatives from both countries, one of the people said, saying that the process has “become a real trade negotiation”. Up till now, however, details over exactly what has been agreed have remained fuzzy.
Officials are reportedly drawing up six MoUs on key structural issues: forced tech transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture, and non-tariff barriers to trade, according to two of sources who are involved with the negotiations.
Pressure is on both teams to strike a deal before the end of the month, when the US has pledged to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%. For the Americans, the goal is concrete commitments and enforcement mechanisms for the above issues. The Chinese, meanwhile, want to avert further damage to the already-flagging economy.