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U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to lead talks with China: White House

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. will lead negotiations with over tariffs, market access and structural changes to intellectual property practices over the next 90 days, the has confirmed, potentially signaling a harder U.S. line.

On Saturday, U.S. and Chinese declared a trade truce, agreeing to hold off on new tariffs following months of escalating tension. The two sides also agreed to negotiate over the next 90 days.

Lighthizer leading the talks marks a shift from the administration's previous approach to trade talks that had been largely led by Lighthizer, an and having just completed a new agreement with and Mexico, is one of the administration's most vocal critics.

"Robert Lighthizer, the ambassador, USTR, is in charge of these negotiations," told "He's the toughest we've ever had at the USTR and he's going to go chapter and verse and get tariffs down, non-tariff barriers down and end all these structural practices that prevent market access."

A also confirmed the decision to have Lighthizer lead the negotiations.

Mnuchin had said the negotiations with China would be led by Trump, with an "inclusive team" of administration officials, including himself and other cabinet officials.

Mnuchin led some past rounds of talks due to his relationship as the counterpart to Chinese Liu He, the top to Chinese U.S. Commerce also led a failed round of talks in in June, while mid-level Treasury officials hosted a round of discussions in August.

The White House said on Saturday that the talks would cover structural changes in China on forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.

Most of these issues were identified in USTR's "Section 301" investigation of China's intellectual property practices, which formed the basis of the U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese goods.

Lighthizer said last week that China had failed to alter the "unfair, unreasonable" practices at the heart of the trade dispute.

(Reporting by David Lawder, Editing by and Susan Thomas)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 23:01 IST