US Upbeat After 3 Days of Trade Talks in Beijing

10 January, 2019, 10:58 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • What hope for markets in the US-China trade talks?

Three days of talks in Beijing between United States and Chinese negotiators broke up yesterday without a deal being struck to end the escalating trade war between the countries.

These were the first direct talks between USA and Chinese officials since Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in December in Argentina and agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war.

If talks continue to go well, a cabinet-level meeting is likely to happen before the end of the month.

Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the two sides for the first time were discussing topics that matter most to the Trump administration.

The talks that started Monday were the first face-to-face meeting since Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed December 1 to suspend further punitive action against each other's imports for 90 days while they negotiate over the fight sparked by American complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. If a "REAL" deal with China is possible, the US will "get it done", Trump tweeted shortly after his dinner with Jinping last month.

USA stocks surged Wednesday on optimism that the midlevel talks in Beijing will be followed up with discussions between higher-ranking US and Chinese officials.

A member of the USA delegation, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, told reporters that the team would return to the United States later on Wednesday.

He declined to provide more details.

There has been some indication of Chinese moves to address concerns regarding forced technology transfer, including recently proposed legislation that would bar local governments from forcing foreign firms to transfer technology or illegally restrict market access. Since then, the two countries have exchanged several rounds of trade tariffs, levying duties of hundreds of billions of dollars.

"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.

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At stake are scheduled US tariff increase on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross signalled on Monday that there was a "very good chance" of reaching an agreement.

Chinese exports to the USA have held up despite tariff increases of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports, partly due to exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit.

A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard at the main entrance gate of the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Liu made a brief appearance at the talks in Beijing on Monday, boosting optimism that China was serious about making progress on a deal.

"From what I know, the trade talks, though arduous, were conducted in a pleasant and candid atmosphere".

"China's ability to use (North Korea) as leverage has diminished considerably since Trump opened his own channel to Kim", she said.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, announced the talks had ended. "We are moving towards a more balanced and reciprocal trade agreement with China".

"We have shown our sincerity, we have established our stand in this, so we don't need other actions to gain the confidence of the US".

Since the end of October a year ago, chartering a Very large Crude Carrier from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port has fallen by some 40 percent to US$5 million, Reuters Eikon data suggests.

Trump said the USA tariffs had hurt China.

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