Negotiators from the world's two largest economies began their latest round of talks this week ahead of the March 1 deadline for additional USA tariffs on Chinese goods.
China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties.
Hassett, who chairs the Council of Economic Advisers, added that the White House is "very much looking forward to what the senior people come up with this week". After that date, United States tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.
The rate on all those imports are set to increase to 25 percent if no agreement is reached by March 1.
The spokeswoman, however, has not confirmed the Sunday media reports saying that US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, may meet in the Mar-a-Lago residence of the US president in Florida in mid-March. But the two sides are only just starting the work of drafting a common document and are still tussling over how a deal may be enforced, which USA officials have repeatedly called a crucial element. "Concerning the specific meeting, I have no information on the issue", Hua said.
"I think they're making progress and my hope is that by March 1 there will be enough progress to be made that at a minimum, there could be a delay in the imposition of additional tariffs", Portman told reporters. "They will meet again soon".
Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies' intellectual property, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies.
With the USA now pushing a plan of prioritizing spending on artificial intelligence research, it will be hard to talk China out of its policies to dominate advanced technologies.
In September, a Chinese warship came within just 45 yards of a US destroyer, raising concerns about the possibility of tensions boiling over into conflict. Clay Doss, a spokesman for USA 7th Fleet.
"The key is whether the USA and China can find common ground", said He Weiwen, a former commerce ministry official and now a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, an independent research group.