Friday, 18 January, 2019

US, China trade talks conclude on positive note

US official says China trade talks ‘went just fine’ Posted US official says China trade talks ‘went just fine’ Posted
Nellie Chapman | 10 January, 2019, 20:27

After extending to an unexpected third day, trade talks between US and Chinese officials have concluded, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry announced Wednesday morning.

"These issues are much more hard to solve immediately but are, frankly, much more compelling to US companies", said Jake Parker, vice president for China operations of the US-China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China.

The USTR statement contained no details on the amount of commodities, goods and services discussed in the Beijing talks.

Prior to the meeting, China made a number of concessions to USA demands including temporarily cutting punitive tariffs on US -made cars, resuming soybean purchases, promising to open up its markets for more foreign investment, and drafting a law to prevent forced technology transfers. "We expect something will come out of this. I don't want to comment on what that will look like".

She added that the Trump administration's complaint that China is stealing USA intellectual property is "top of mind" in the negotiations with Beijing.

The US Trade Representative office said Wednesday that the talks focused on "ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations", as well as the need for "ongoing verification and effective enforcement" of any agreement.

American officials welcomed a "good few days" as they prepared to depart Beijing today, raising hopes that the world's two largest economies could draw a line under their acrimonious dispute and reach a deal. Share prices jumped in Asia and Europe.

The United States has long complained about access to the vast Chinese market and Beijing's demands US companies reveal their technology advances.

The World Bank this week cut its outlook for the global economy as growth in trade and investment slowed and rising interest rates sapped momentum, especially in emerging markets.

Both parties agreed to continue to maintain close contact, the ministry said in a brief statement on its website.

The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper known for its nationalist leanings, said on Twitter around 4 p.m.in Beijing that he'd heard the two sides were still consulting on the wording of their "coordinated" statements.

Speaking after the conclusion of the talks, Ted McKinney, the US under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, told reporters in Beijing that he thought they "went just fine". "It's been a good one..."

The extra day of talks came amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of USA farm and energy commodities and increased access to China's markets. He wouldn't confirm reports that Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. soon to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The midlevel talks in Beijing concluded on Wednesday. Asian markets closed on a high note Wednesday on the expectation the two sides will reach an agreement.