October 9, 2019 / 10:40 PM / 14 days ago

U.S.-China made no progress in deputy-level trade talks: South China Morning Post

(Reuters) - The United States and China made no progress in deputy-level trade talks held on Monday and Tuesday in Washington, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the meetings.

China's Vice Premier Liu He arrives outside the office of the U.S. Trade Representative for a second day of last ditch trade talks in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The first minister-level meetings in more than two months between the world’s two biggest economies are set to begin on Thursday.

The Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Liu He, plans to leave Washington on Thursday after just one day of minister-level meetings, the paper said, adding that the departure had earlier been planned for late on Friday.

However, the White House denied that Liu planned to leave Washington on Thursday.

“We are not aware of a change in the vice premier’s travel plans at this time,” a White House spokesman told CNBC.

Liu is still set to leave on Friday evening, CNBC said, citing a U.S. official.

China refused to talk about forced technology transfer and also skirted the issue of state subsidies during the deputy-level meetings, SCMP said, citing a source with knowledge of the meetings.

The two sides have been at loggerheads over U.S. demands that China improve protections of American intellectual property, end cyber theft and the forced transfer of technology to Chinese firms, curb industrial subsidies and increase U.S. companies’ access to largely closed Chinese markets.

For more than a year, the United States and China have been locked in a trade war on issues such as cybersecurity, regulations, intellectual property, subsidies and tariffs.

Unless the talks make significant progress, U.S. President Donald Trump is set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30% from 25% next Tuesday.

Asked if a breakthrough can be expected in this week’s talks, an official told CNBC that Trump had not yet made up his mind.

“As of right now, (Trump) has not made up his mind, because he does not know what they’re going to offer”, the official said late on Wednesday.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Clarence Fernandez

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