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    US trade negotiators to visit China on March 28-29

    BEIJING (AFP) – Senior United States (US) officials will visit Beijing for a new round of trade war talks on March 28-29, followed by a trip to the US by China’s top negotiator in April, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said yesterday.

    The back-to-back trips come as Washington and Beijing battle over the final shape of a trade deal, with American officials demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy.

    US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are returning to the Chinese capital next week, Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly briefing.

    After their visit, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will head to the United States in April to continue the negotiations, Gao said.

    President Donald Trump warned on Wednesday that US tariffs on Chinese imports could remain in place for a “substantial period”, dampening hopes that an agreement would see them lifted soon.

    Over the last eight months, the US and China have slapped tariffs on more than USD360 billion in two-way goods trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.

    Last Friday, China’s Parliament approved a foreign investment law to strengthen protections for intellectual property – a central US grievance – but critics said the bill was rammed through without sufficient time for input from businesses.

    The law was adopted barely three months after a first draft was debated, an unusually quick turnaround for the legislature, which meets once a year.

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