The White House has rejected an offer by two Chinese lower-level ministers to visit Washington later this week for preliminary talks, claiming that negotiations are still failing to progress on two key issues, the Financial Times reports.
The two vice-ministers, Wang Shouwen and Liao Min, planned to attend a series of talks in preparation for the more important visit by Liu He, who is heading the Chinese negotiation team, on January 30.
According to sources talking to the FT, a lack of progress on forced technology transfers and deeper structural reforms to the Chinese economy compelled US officials to shelve the meeting. Chief economic adviser to the president, Larry Kudlow, later clarified that the meeting with Liu was still going ahead.
Trade tensions also featured in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s address to the World Economic Forum in Davos. After criticising “China’s state-centred economic model, its belligerence towards neighbours and its embrace of a totalitarian state at home,” Pompeo said the future of the bilateral relationship “will be determined by the principles that America stands by – free and open seas…fair and reciprocal trade arrangements where every entity has the opportunity to compete on a fair, transparent and open basis.”