Higher-level negotiations will take place on Thursday and Friday after efforts in Beijing last week came to a head without any deal or resolution to a fight over Beijing's technology ambitions ahead of a deadline for a massive US tariff hike.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (C) listens as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He talks while they line up for a group photo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China. February 15, 2019.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (C) listens as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He talks while they line up for a group photo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China. February 15, 2019. (Reuters)

China's economy czar is heading to Washington for talks on Thursday and Friday aimed at ending a fight over Beijing's technology ambitions ahead of a deadline for a massive US tariff hike.

The announcement on Tuesday via the official Xinhua News Agency follows talks last week in Beijing that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said "made headway" on key issues. Xinhua said Vice Premier Liu He will hold talks with Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A lower-level round of talks between the US and China will take place in Washington on Tuesday, the White House said on Monday.

The talks follow a round of negotiations that ended in Beijing last week without a deal but which officials said had generated progress on contentious issues between the world's two largest economies.

The talks are aimed at "achieving needed structural changes in China that affect trade between the United States and China. The two sides will also discuss China's pledge to purchase a substantial amount of goods and services from the United States," the White House said in a statement.

Both governments have expressed optimism but they have given no details of their talks. Economists say the time available for negotiations is too brief to resolve an array of irritants in US-Chinese relations. They say Beijing's goal is to persuade President Donald Trump they are making enough progress to push back threatened US penalties.

Beijing hopes for "a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement that is acceptable to both sides," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

The talks on Thursday will be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a strong proponent of pressing China to end practices that the US says include forced technology transfers from US companies and intellectual property theft.

The White House said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro would also take part in the talks.

US tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if no deal is reached by March 1.

Trump, who suggested last week that he could extend the deadline for the talks, reiterated in a speech on Monday that the negotiations had been fruitful.

"We're making a lot of progress. Nobody expected this was going to be happening," he told a crowd in Florida. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies