Friday, 23 August, 2019

China Says Trade Talks are Making Progress

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Russell Knight | 12 January, 2019, 10:28

By the time President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day tariff truce in early December, the USA had placed a total of $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing had retaliated with $110 billion in tariffs of its own. Among many things, the Communist leader pledged to buy more USA agricultural and industrial products, allow increased access to Chinese markets, and abide by more cybersecurity and property theft rules.

Given the results of the talks, reports of optimism on both sides suggest that Washington may be willing to settle for a deal that mostly involves addressing the trade deficit by increasing USA exports to China.

Trade tensions between the world's two largest economies escalated previous year, putting global stock markets on edge.

"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.

The talks "improved mutual understanding and laid a foundation for resolving issues of mutual concern", the ministry said. But just days later, President Donald Trump overruled Mnuchin by announcing plans for 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. Trump has complained repeatedly about the USA trade deficit with China, which previous year likely exceeded the 2017 gap of $336 billion.

Three days of U.S.

Also, "Both parties agreed to continue to maintain close contact".

A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard at the main entrance gate of the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war wound up a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress.

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ANALYST'S TAKE: "While there was agreement on less thorny issues such as agriculture and energy, USA demands for verification and enforceable targets on intellectual property rights, transfer of technologies and non-tariff barriers may not be that easily addressed", DBS Group Research strategists Eugene Leow and Neel Gopalakrishnan said in a commentary.

"We have a massive trade negotiation going on with China".

The two sides held intense discussion at the vice ministerial level from Monday to Wednesday in Beijing.

Earlier this week, China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import, the first in about 18 months, which could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease United States pressure to open its markets to more farm goods.

Mofcom spokesman Gao Feng said that these issues were an important item of the negotiations, and that progress has been made.

"I think China wants to get it resolved - their economy's not doing well", Mr Trump told reporters on Sunday.

Asian markets were mostly lower Thursday as USA and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of talks in Beijing without significant breakthroughs. "And to do that properly would require significant changes in how China manages its economy - changes that would put the Chinese government and its state-owned enterprises in a vulnerable position".

Almost halfway into the 90-day truce, there have been few concrete details on progress made so far. "I really believe they want to make a deal".

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