The United States and China opened a pivotal round of high-level talks on Wednesday aimed at digging out from their months-long trade war amid deep differences over Chinese practices on intellectual property and technology transfer.
Cabinet-level officials, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, gathered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, with about a month to reach a deal before a March 2 U.S. deadline to increase tariffs on Chinese goods.
During a photo opportunity at the start of the scheduled two days of talks, Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top Trump administration officials sat silently across a long table from their Chinese counterparts, ignoring a reporter’s questions.
After a few minutes, Lighthizer broke the silence with joking small talk about table positioning and appearing in photographs from the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina last year.
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