America is seeking assurances that China will buy more products from the U.S.in order to reduce the trade deficit, and it wants a fairer playing field for USA companies that do business inside China, NPR has reported.
"Even if a deal is cobbled together, the more strident trade hawks in the White House and Trump may not sign off", said Mizuho Bank's Vishnu Varathan in a report.
American officials welcomed a "good few days" as they prepared to depart Beijing today, raising hopes that the world's two largest economies could draw a line under their acrimonious dispute and reach a deal.
"The Chinese side also believes that the implementation mechanism of any agreement is very important and both parties have an obligation to carry it out", Gao told reporters during a regular press conference.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office issued its own statement a day earlier, . and said China has pledged to purchase "a substantial amount" of agricultural, energy and manufactured goods and services from the U.S.
U.S. companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. "Instead of making honest efforts to solve its domestic problems, it resorts to unilateralism and protectionism, breaks the rules-based global order, coercing allies to accept unfair treaties, triggering trade frictions with China, and blocking technology transfer while trying to contain China's rise".
That would not only squeeze corporate profitability at home, but also put pressure on global price gains, as export prices usually follow those at factory gate. "It's probably going to take a little longer".
Chinese officials complain about controls on "dual use" technology with possible military applications.
With cooling economic growth raising the urgency for a settlement, this week's talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on USA charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.
But if the countries fail to reach a deal by March 2, Trump has threatened to restart the trade war, increasing tariffs on 200 billion dollars-worth of Chinese imports from ten to twenty-five percent.
A United States delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday for the first face-to-face dialogue with officials in Beijing since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a three-month tariff truce during a meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina on December 1.
Chinese exports to the United States held up despite the tariff hikes, but that was due partly to exporters rushing to fill orders before any more increases hit. With industrial output and retail sales growth both at the weakest levels in a decade, China's woes would also mean softer demand for imports, hurting other economies including the U.S.