President Donald Trump said Sunday “big progress” is being made in U.S. trade talks with China on what he calls “so many different fronts.”
“Our country has such fantastic potential for future growth and greatness on an even higher level,” the president tweeted.
Trump said last week he might put off the March 1 deadline to increase tariffs on China if a trade deal is close.
But a China trade expert who served in the Obama administration says he has only seen “incremental progress” toward a trade deal with China.
“The realistic approach is that the deadline gets extended and the negotiations possibly go into the end of this year, I would suspect,” former Assistant Trade representative for China Jeff Moon tells VOA.
Moon believes negotiators on both sides are failing to address the real reason the U.S. imposed stiff sanctions on China in the first place — allegations that it is stealing U.S. intellectual property, and China’s demands that U.S. firms turn over trade secrets if they want to keep doing business in China.
“It’s not possible to resolve those issues in two weeks. Those are very complex issues that require longer talks…so a quick settlement is not a good settlement. It just glosses things over,” Moon said.
He forecast things getting “messy” over the long run if those matters are not settled.
He also said Trump has “muddied” the negotiations by letting politics creep into the trade talks with such issues as North Korea.
Trump has threatened to hike tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports to the U.S. from 10 to 25 percent if there is no trade deal reached by March 1.
China has accused the U.S. of violating global trade rules, saying it is preventing the Chinese economy from thriving.
Current U.S. sanctions on China were met with retaliation from Beijing by sanctions on U.S. goods.