US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, center, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing earlier this year. Photo: AFP / Mark Schiefelbein

Vice-Premier Liu He is heading back to Washington for another round of trade talks which will take place on Thursday and Friday.

The dates were confirmed by China’s official Xinhua news agency, quoting a short statement from the Ministry of Commerce.

“Liu will meet US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer,” the ministry confirmed without giving further details.

In a separate statement from the White House, it was announced that China ‘hawk’ Peter Navarro would be joining the discussions in his capacity as trade adviser to US President Donald Trump, as well as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Economic Policy Advisor Larry Kudlow.

Finding a way to monitor the fine print in any subsequent deal proved to be a major sticking point for the US delegation.

“[The talks are aimed at] achieving needed structural changes in China that affect trade between the United States and China,” the White House stated. “The two sides will also discuss China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of goods and services from the United States.”

A low-level meeting led by Jeffrey Gerrish, the deputy US trade representative, was penciled in for Tuesday to prepare the groundwork for the main event.

Still, major obstacles are believed to exist before the March 1 deadline expires after last week’s two-day talkfest ended on a neutral note.

Finding a way to monitor the fine print in any subsequent deal proved to be a major sticking point for the US delegation, as well as thorny issues such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, Beijing’s state-subsidies model and the “Made in China 2025” plan.

“Without enforcement, this deal fails,” Myron Brilliant, the executive vice-president and head of international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, said.

“Implementation and enforcement are going to be two key elements – so you need to have implementation, you need to have follow-through, but you need to have enforcement mechanisms that will ensure that both sides have trust that this deal is sustaining and verifiable,” he added.

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