Some business groups watching the talks were tempering expectations for a breakthrough this week.
With a month to go before the deadline, it was unlikely that the best offers from either side would be put on the table in the next two days, said Erin Ennis, senior vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any big outcome,” Ennis said of the talks scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. “Hopefully they make some good progress that will set them up to be able to get to completion at the end of the 90 days.”
But the Chinese side, led by Vice Premier Liu He, would likely have to bring to the table a new offer that goes significantly beyond its previous offers to significantly increase purchases of U.S. goods, including soybeans, energy and manufactured goods.
People familiar with the talks said manufactured goods, a key priority for the Trump administration, were among the largest components of Chinese purchase pledges aimed at significantly reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China. But here, too, there are “no guarantees” that Beijing would follow through on these pledges, one of the people said.
Also hanging over the talks are U.S. indictments against Chinese top telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies, accusing it of bank and wire fraud to evade Iran sanctions and conspiring to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile US.