U.S. to China: `Can We Talk?' Trade Negotiations Expected to Resume

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China and the United States hope to resume negotiations next week in their multibillion-dollar dispute over the piracy of intellectual property, U.S. sources said today

"We've talked to the Chinese about having new meetings and the Chinese have responded," a U.S. source said in Beijing. "We are talking about the week of Feb. 13."

The Chinese side has given no immediate confirmation.

The U.S. source would not say whether China had explicitly agreed to restart the talks or whether a venue had been set, noting that contacts were continuing.

"They have responded to our request for talks, but I can't say more than that," he said. "Negotiations are still under way."

The last round of talks collapsed in Beijing on Jan. 28.

On Saturday, the United States announced that it would impose 100 percent import tariffs on $1.08 billion worth of Chinese goods on Feb. 26 if the dispute were not resolved. China reacted with its own sweeping countermeasures. Both sides' sanctions would take effect Feb. 26.

The United States has accused China of rampant piracy of copyrights, patents and trademarks on everything from cereals to computer software at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to American firms each year. Nearly 20 months of negotiations have not resolved the dispute.

If the two nations do put their sanctions into effect, China stands to lose a slice of its biggest export market, as well as a share of confidence and foreign investment. The United States is China's single largest export market.

And yet, Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Wu Yi on Sunday called the U.S. sanctions "no big deal," because China's markets are diversified, he explained.

China contends that it has made huge progress in enforcing copyright protection laws. Impact Limited

The U.S. sanctions would affect only a small fraction of China-U.S. trade, which in 1994 was about $45 billion. In fact, the sanctions would affect less than 1 percent - or less than $1 billion - of the estimated $124 billion of China's total exports last year.

The sanctions, on such Chinese-made items as plastic products, cellular phones, answering machines, sporting goods and bicycles, are intended to roughly equal the amount that U. …