Published: Fri, October 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Wall Street opens flat with focus on U.S.-China trade talks

Wall Street opens flat with focus on U.S.-China trade talks

The United States and China have resumed ministerial-level trade talks for the first time in about two months.

The Trump administration is set to raise punitive duties on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 30% from 25% on October 15, further escalating the trade war.

In return, Beijing would offer non-core concessions like purchases of agricultural products without giving in on major sticking points, the official said, without offering further details.

In a tweet, Trump said he will meet Friday with Vice Premier Liu He, who returned to the negotiating table on Thursday amid a blitz of aggressive USA maneuvers with hopes for a grand bargain between the economic powers this week near zero.

"In my opinion, China wants to make a deal more than I do", Trump added. "I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House", Trump tweeted on Thursday.

But Trump's attitude toward the process is subject to sudden change, given the churning pressures competing for his attention.

China is willing to bump up purchases of U.S. farm exports and make other concessions but will stop short of addressing Trump's core grievances, according to reports from Bloomberg and The Financial Times.

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"We all know we can't afford a further escalation of the trade war", Brilliant said. Chinese officials said the action interfered with China's sovereignty. Those include laws around intellectual property theft and the forced transfer of foreign technology.

Speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump sounded an optimistic note about the prospects for a breakthrough in trade negotiations.

China this year balked at Trump's demands for a profound transformation to the way it manages its economy and analysts say Beijing is unlikely to adopt economic reforms that could undermine the Communist Party's political power.

China's purchases of USA soybeans jumped in September after stagnating during the summer.

Myron Brilliant, head of worldwide affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, told reporters on Thursday he had spoken with both sides and that an agreement on currency could emerge this week.

USA central bankers believe the trade war is raising the chances the United States could slip into recession.

A senior U.S. Chamber of Commerce official said U.S. and Chinese negotiators were working towards an "early harvest" of confidence-building agreements, including one to avoid currency manipulation. That would extend to import taxes to virtually everything China ships to the United States.

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