China to reportedly boost purchases of US semiconductors to alleviate trade tensions

Key Points
  • China is pledging to increase U.S. semiconductor sales as a way to appease Washington in the ongoing trade war, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • A U.S. trade delegation is meeting with Chinese counterparts in Beijing this week, but the talks reportedly remain "deadlocked" over technology transfers.
  • China's top economic-planning agency is proposing an increase in U.S. semiconductor sales to a total $200 billion to China over the next six years, the Journal says, citing U.S. companies briefed on the plan.
Chinese Vice Premier and lead trade negotiator Liu He, right, reaches to shake hands with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer before the opening session of trade negotiations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.
Mark Schiefelbein | Pool | Reuters

China is reportedly promising to buy semiconductors and other U.S. products in an attempt to alleviate trade tensions with the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal report Thursday.

The olive branch is meant to persuade President Donald Trump to extend a temporary truce over tariffs, according to the report, which cited people with knowledge of the matter.

The world's largest economies are on the fourth day of high-level talks about the ongoing trade dispute. The delegation in Beijing is led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and their Chinese counterparts led by Vice Premier Liu He.

China's top economic planning agency is floating a plan to increase U.S. semiconductor sales to China to a total $200 billion in the next six years — about a five-fold increase over current exports, the Journal reported, citing U.S. companies briefed on the plan.

Still, the report said U.S. and Chinese officials remain "deadlocked" on multiple topics in trade dispute. Among those lingering issues are complaints from Washington that China pressures U.S. firms to share technology and favors domestic companies at the expense of global competitors.

Other reports this week added to optimism of a trade deal. Trump said Wednesday that talks were "going very well" as both sides looked to reach an agreement before a looming March 1 deadline.

Bloomberg News reported that Trump is considering a two-month extension of that March cut-off, and the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to meet with the U.S. delegates in Beijing on Friday.

— Read the entire Wall Street Journal report here.