China and the U.S. are approaching the finish line on trade negotiations that could end later this month, according to three sources.
Negotiations are in the “final stages” as the two sides plan a summit for the end of March at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Florida resort, sources told CNBC. If a deal is reached, the U.S. could roll back tariffs on at least $200 billion in Chinese goods while China could remove or cut industry-specific levies like those on autos.
China’s National People’s Congress is also expected to pass a new foreign investment law that would change equity ownership rules, and potentially have language about state-owned enterprise subsidies and forced tech transfers. However, CNBC sources are doubtful about how strong the language would be on the latter part.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Politburo — China’s policymaking committee — would have to sign off on any deal before it is official, but Trump is said to be pushing for one despite U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s insistence on stronger concessions out of China, sources say.
However, the U.S. wants the ability to re-implement tariffs on Chinese goods if talks fail on enforcement mechanisms on intellectual property theft and related matters. The sources said this is not sitting well with the Chinese.
Trump administration officials touted significant progress in U.S.-China trade talks last week. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday the two sides were getting closer to a deal. White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow also told CNBC “the progress [between the two countries] has been terrific.”
The ongoing trade spat between the two countries has kept investors on edge since last year as they assess how tighter trade conditions would impact corporate profits.
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