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Clouds gather ahead of U.S.-China trade talks

The U.S. and China are getting ready for high-level trade talks later this week.

But already, hopes are fading for a deal.

The trade war has dragged on for 15 months, triggering a slowdown in the global economy.

But events this week are driving a deeper wedge between the world's two superpowers.

On Monday (October 7) Washington blacklisted 28 Chinese entities.

They include some of China's leading AI companies like SenseTime and Hikvision.

The Trump administration accuses them of being a part of human rights violations against Muslim minorities in China's far-west Xinjiang region.

The U.S. says it's not related to trade talks.

However it comes just before fresh negotiations in Washington and a key deadline on October 15th.

President Donald Trump has threatened to make some of his China tariffs more painful unless he sees progress by then.

But it seems the president himself isn't very optimistic

On Monday (October 7) he said he wanted a quote "big deal" - not a partial solution.

He hinted that the man heading negotiations, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, was more hopeful.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"We think there's a chance we could do something very substantial. Bob, I think you think that. We'll see what happens."

Trump also warned that the ongoing political protests in Hong Kong had potential to hurt trade talks.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"Well, we'd like to see a very humane solution to that. I hope that's going to happen. And you know, Hong Kong is very important as a world hub, not just for China, but for the world."

Talks are set for Thursday and Friday.

China will be represented by Vice Premier Liu He.

While Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will make the case for the United States.

ENDS