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US, Chinese officials to meet Thursday for trade talks

Top Trump administration officials will host a delegation of Chinese officials this week for trade talks, the White House announced Monday.

Negotiations will start back up on Thursday when Vice Premier Liu He and other Chinese officials meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“The two sides will look to build on the deputy-level talks of the past weeks,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “Topics of discussion will include forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, and enforcement.”

Discussions between the U.S. and China have been stalled in recent months as the two sides have engaged in a tit-for-tat escalation of their trade war. 

President Trump agreed to delay a planned increase in tariffs earlier this month while China celebrated its 70th anniversary of communist rule. But if talks this week falter, tariffs on more than $250 billion in Chinese imports are set to rise from 25 percent to 30 percent on Oct. 15. 

Another tranche of 10 percent tariffs on more than $125 billion in Chinese products are also set to kick in on Dec. 15, targeting hundreds of crucial consumer goods.

Trump has repeatedly said he is in no rush to reach a deal with the Chinese and that he would prefer to have a full agreement in place rather than signing off on piecemeal aspects. But experts have warned the lingering trade war could damage the economy, which in turn could threaten Trump’s re-election prospects.

This week’s negotiations will take place under a cloud of controversy after Trump last week said he believes China should investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son over unfounded allegations of corruption.

The comments further fueled House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office for personal gain. The inquiry was set off by a call in July in which Trump urged the Ukrainian president to “look into” the Bidens.

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