As the U.S. and Chinese delegations met Wednesday for the start of two days of talks, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer welcomed a Chinese team led by Vice Premier Liu He.
The US tariffs on Chinese goods are just one front in Trump's efforts to upend the global trading order with his "America First" strategy.
Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of worldwide affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said officials have told him that progress is being made on some issues but not on concerns about forced-technology transfers and other industrial policies. State-run Xinhua news agency reported that the National People's Congress would vote on the new investment law when it holds its first annual session on March 5.
He pushed Trump to renegotiate NAFTA and vigorously defended the punitive tariffs imposed on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum, a protectionist measure that prompted the departure of Trump's former chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who was more pragmatic than dogmatic and highly respected by financial markets.
The Chinese are expected to ramp up their soybean purchases via a series of individual buys rather than a single purchase, the official said.
But US officials don't believe that this will hinder the trade negotiations.
"The most crucial issue is that no matter what the CCP does, the worldwide community does not believe it", he told NTD, a media partner of The Epoch Times. China has repeatedly denied those charges.
However, US officials have also pressed for change on issues such as the theft of trade secrets and rules that limit the operations of foreign companies.
A crucial component of any progress in the talks, according to top Trump administration officials, is agreement on a mechanism to verify and "enforce" China's follow-through on any reform pledges that it makes.
The two sides past year traded blows, imposing steep tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, but the United States has more room to manoeuvre in the battle as it buys far more from China than the other way around.
The president seemed optimistic the two-day meeting would help de-escalate the trade dispute between the two countries.
Trump has set a March deadline for increasing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent.
"We haven't talked about extending the deadline", Trump told reporters of the deadline to come up with a deal before the USA increases 10 percent in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent.
Officials for both sides are now meeting in Washington in an effort to strike a deal. Instead, the pressure would be on the U.S.to reduce tariffs.
The differences between Beijing and Washington are vast.
Lighthizer said there was much work to do to reach an agreement, but cited "substantial progress" in talks that focused on issues such as protecting American intellectual property, forced technology transfers, agriculture and "enforcement, enforcement, enforcement".