Ahead of China trip, Lighthizer makes no predictions

The Chinese government has reportedly stepped in on ZTE's behalf.
                  Josh Miller  CNET

The Chinese government has reportedly stepped in on ZTE's behalf. Josh Miller CNET

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading a delegation of USA officials.

"It's a big, big challenge".

Consultation between China and the United States on economic and trade issues will be constructive as long as the US delegation comes with sincerity, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wednesday. "It has not worked well for us".

In his complaints over the chronic US trade deficit with China, President Donald Trump has zeroed in on a program under Xi known as "Made in China 2025" that aims to make China a tech superpower. "We'll see where we are at the end of a couple of days".

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He attends the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018.

Earlier Tuesday, Ross played down the possibility of a breakthrough.

China "will stand up to the U.S.' bullying as necessary".

"You never know where you are until you actually get into the conference room" and an outcome can't be prejudged, Ross said.

After being pressed several times on whether he was optimistic about the trip, Ross said "I wouldn't be going all the way over there if I didn't think there was some hope".

China says it is determined to open its economy further to the outside world, and has denounced what it calls USA protectionism. "Anything that is discussed over there will come back to the president for approval", he said.

"This won't be, suddenly in Beijing, a breathtaking release (that) everything is solved", Ross said.

Lighthizer said it would be "madness" for the United States to keep allowing Chinese-state backed firms to buy up USA technology companies, especially as China prohibits such acquisitions by US firms. Beijing's pledge to retaliate with barriers of its own against American goods has raised the specter of a trade war that the International Monetary Fund cautions could undermine global growth.

"Our trade deficit is too big and too continuing, too chronic and too inspired by evil practices", he added, emphasizing the Trump administration's focus on the trade imbalance.

Each member of the team is known to harbour strong views with varying degrees of hawkishness on the dispute - from Navarro, author of "Death by China", to Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has publicly expressed optimism on resolving the spat.

"There has been talking between the two countries for years and years and years".

"Very much like North Korea, this should have been fixed years ago, not now.Great Potential for US!" "Great Potential for United States of America!"

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