Sunday, 24 March, 2019


United States negotiators in Beijing for trade war talks

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs for Camp David from the White House in Washington United States negotiators in Beijing for trade war talks
Conrad Doyle | 12 January, 2019, 10:27

Washington has been clamouring for an end to the forced transfer - and even theft - of American technology and intellectual property, as well as steep government subsidies for Chinese companies. He did not elaborate.

Washington has presented Beijing with a long list of demands that would rewrite the terms of trade between the world's two largest economies.

The US released a statement on the meetings, alluding to at least one potential concrete commitment on the part of China.

In a brief statement on January 10, China's Ministry of Commerce said the two sides had reached an "important consensus", and will continue to have close contact.

Earlier on Tuesday, China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import, a move seen as a "goodwill gesture" by some in the US agriculture industry that could boost China's overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the two sides were narrowing their differences, with Chinese officials offering greater purchases of United States goods and services and Cabinet-level follow-up meetings expected later this month.

The discussions during the past two days "went well", according to Steven Winberg, an Energy Department official who spoke to reporters in Beijing.

Liu's appearance at the talks is a "symbol of Xi's personal buy-in" in the effort to reach a deal, said Leland Miller, chief executive officer of China Beige Book, a data-analytics firm that surveys companies across the Chinese economy. In both cases, further declines are on the cards if the talks fail to produce a resolution.

China's Ministry of Commerce said there were "detailed exchanges" and both sides would "maintain close contact", without offering specifics.

China's foreign ministry on Monday confirmed that Wang would deliver a keynote speech at Davos, though didn't confirm any plans for him to meet Trump.

In March, when the tariff tit-for-tat was in its infancy, President Trump suggested the USA might impose up to $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods. "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".

United States officials have long complained that China has failed to live up to trade promises, often citing Beijing's pledges to resume imports of American beef that took more than a decade to implement.

"I think that gives them a great incentive to negotiate."

China, which illegally claims control of the disputed islands, denounced the patrol as a "provocation" and said it "gravely infringed upon China's sovereignty". Structural issues and concerns about barriers to investment in China are seen as some of the biggest obstacles to the deal.

It also said Washington and Beijing have discussed the need for the agreement "to provide for complete implementation, subject to on-going verification and effective enforcement". "The view, once commonly heard in Beijing, that it could outlast America in a grinding tariff battle has given way to the realisation that, as the country with the huge trade surplus, China has more to lose upfront".

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