January 7, 2019 / 1:26 PM / 8 days ago

U.S., China could settle immediate trade issues: Ross on CNBC

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross answers questions during an interview with Reuters in his office at the U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington, U.S., October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and China are likely to reach a good settlement over immediate trade issues while agreement on structural trade issues and enforcement will be harder, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Monday as U.S.-China trade talks resumed.

Ross, in an interview on CNBC, said the talks in Beijing would help determine whether trade differences between the world’s two largest economies could be resolved through negotiations.

“I think there’s a very good chance that we will get a reasonable settlement that China can live with, that we can live with and that addresses all of the key issues. And to me those are immediate trade. That’s probably the easiest one to solve,” Ross said.

U.S. officials are meeting their counterparts this week for the first face-to-face talks since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global markets.

It is unclear if Beijing will yield to key U.S. demands over trade imbalances, market access, and more protection for intellectual property.

Trump said on Sunday that trade talks with China were going very well and that weakness in the Chinese economy gave Beijing a reason to work toward a deal.

Even if a trade agreement is reached soon, analysts say it would be no panacea for China’s economy, which is expected to continue decelerating in coming months.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Writing by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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