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China trade talks wrap up, with outcome unclear

12 January, 2019, 13:15 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish is leading the US delegation in Beijing

President Donald Trump tweeted overnight that "Talks with China are going very well!" a potential positive sign even though no major developments had been announced.

"This is what China has wished for, but I think the US will wait and see", Chiu said.

Yoon Jung-min has this report.

United States officials visited Beijing from Monday to Wednesday for the first sit-down talks since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed on December 1 to a three-month truce in the escalating spat.

China said Thursday that trade talks in Beijing with a United States negotiating team had "laid the foundation" to resolve concerns held by both sides in a bruising trade war.

With seven weeks to go until a deadline that could see the US ramp up tariffs on Chinese goods once again, the economic damage wrought by the months-long trade war is becoming clearer even as a pathway to a lasting resolution remains muddied.

Still, the US statement said the negotiations dealt with the need for any deal with China to be "subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement" - a comment that reflects USA frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments.

Interestingly, while officially this was a vice minister-level dialogue, China's top man for the trade negotiations, Vice Premier Liu He, made an appearance anyway.

Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.

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The talks "improved mutual understanding and laid a foundation for resolving issues of mutual concern", the ministry said.

"We're hopeful that we can make a deal with China", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox Business Network on Wednesday.

The meeting between the US delegation - led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and including officials from the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy Departments - and the Chinese side ran late into Tuesday night.

Notably, in Thursday's press conference in Beijing, Gao avoided verifying some of the specifics of the USTR press release, including the promise for China to purchase increased amounts of USA goods as well as the specific list of issues covered.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on December 1 to postpone more tariff hikes on each other's goods for 90 days while they negotiate. The escalating trade war raised concerns in China as its economy was on the downward trend amid efforts by the government to rejig the export-dependent economy to that of relying more on domestic consumption.

The United States and China had been engaged in a trade war over the a year ago after United States President Donald Trump accused Beijing of indulging in unfair trade practices. Unfortunately, China's definition of what "should not and can not" be reformed has always included precisely the areas of most US concern.

China's trade data for the full year of 2018 is due to be released on January 14, and economists see year-on-year export growth slowing in December from November.

"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 Chinese Foreign Ministry said that details of the talks will be released "soon".

With cooling economic growth raising the urgency for a settlement, this week's talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on US charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

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