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VOA Mandarin service reporter Lin Feng also contributed to this report.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington’s decision to end Iran oil waivers to China will not have a negative impact on the latest trade talks between the world’s two leading economies.
“We have had lots of talks with China about this issue. I’m confident that the trade talks will continue and run their natural course,” Pompeo told an audience in Washington on Monday.
China is Iran’s largest oil buyer.
Pompeo added the U.S. would ensure the global oil markets are adequately supplied.
Last Monday, the United States announced it was ending waivers on sanctions to countries that import Iranian oil, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. Since the sanctions were reintroduced, Italy, Greece and Taiwan have halted their Iranian oil imports.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing on Tuesday, for the latest round of negotiations. The two sides will discuss intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, and other issues.
Vice Premier Liu will then lead a Chinese delegation to Washington for additional talks on May 8.
Washington and Beijing have held several rounds this year to resolve a trade war that began in 2018 when President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. He has been trying to compel Beijing to change its trade practices. China retaliated with tariff increases on $110 billion of U.S. exports.
The U.S. and China have struck a positive tone ahead of this week’s talks in Beijing, aimed at ending the trade war, as both countries work toward an agreement.
“We’re doing well on trade, we’re doing well with China,” President Trump told reporters last week.
In Beijing, Chinese officials said that “tangible progress” has been achieved.
“Both sides are also maintaining communication. We believe that both sides’ trade delegations can work together, meet each other halfway and work hard to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said last week.
As the United States and China appear close to reaching a negotiated settlement over trade disputes, a group of American business and retailers has called for a “full and immediate removal of all added tariffs” on Chinese goods in a deal, saying anything less would be a “loss for the American people.”
Business groups from “Americans for Free Trade” have asked the Trump administration to “fully eliminate tariffs” on Chinese goods, saying tariffs are taxes that American businesses and consumers pay.
“Americans have paid over $21 billion in taxes due to the imposition of new tariffs,” said a letter to President Trump April 22.
Some experts say the administration lacks confidence in China’s enforcement of a trade deal, and predict some punitive tariffs are likely to remain.
“I cannot imagine China accepting a deal where all the tariffs stay in place. I don’t see how [Chinese President] Xi Jinping can take that to his people. There has to be something for China. On the other hand, I guess I will be surprised if the U.S. removed all of the tariffs because clearly, the USTR team would like to keep at least some of them in place,” David Dollar, Brookings Institution’s senior fellow, told VOA Mandarin.
“The smart thing would be to remove the tariffs on all of the parts and components, and perhaps on some consumer goods. It seems likely to get that compromise,” he added.