Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

China trade talks wrap up, with outcome unclear

China trade talks wrap up, with outcome unclear

It is the first time that officials have met for face-to-face talks since President Trump and President Xi agreed a 90-day ceasefire in December. Economists say the 90-day window is too short to resolve all the conflicts between the biggest and second-biggest global economies. "Talks with China are going very well!" he wrote.

But a more hard question may be whether China agrees to monitoring of such a commitment, a condition that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said is a prerequisite to any deal.

"Asian stocks jumped after trade talks were extended for an unscheduled third day, fueling hopes that the world's two largest economies may soon reach a trade deal, putting an end to months of tariffs on each other's goods", reports NPR's Shanghai-based correspondent Rob Schmitz.

But the statement did not say if the two sides have reached any agreement during the talks that concluded on Wednesday.

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.

US companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies.

Beijing also faces pressure over technology from the European Union.

Washington has been clamouring for an end to the alleged forced transfer - and even theft - of American technology, as well as steep government subsidies for Chinese companies.

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"That's not something that's going to be done by March", said Parker.

For its part, Beijing is unhappy with USA export and investment curbs, suggesting it might demand concessions.

Chinese officials complain about controls on "dual use" technology with possible military applications.

This week's talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on USA charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

The results of the talks would be analysed at a separate meeting between USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He. It included agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.

A reduction in Chinese imports of USA goods came quickly after the retaliatory imposition of tariffs, the data show.

A USA delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday for the first face-to-face dialogue with officials in Beijing since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a three-month tariff truce during a meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina on December 1.

Vehicle and property sales have slumped as Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. With industrial output and retail sales growth both at the weakest levels in a decade, China's woes would also mean softer demand for imports, hurting other economies including the U.S.

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