US, China trade talks conclude on positive note

Gladys Abbott
January 9, 2019

China and the USA concluded three days of talks by mid-level trade officials on Wednesday with a cautious sense of optimism that the world's two biggest economies might be able to reach a deal that ends their bruising trade war.

The mid-level talks were the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since both presidents met on December 1, prior to the meeting, China made a number of concessions to USA demands including temporarily cutting punitive tariffs on U.S. made cars, resuming soybean purchases, promising to open up its markets for more foreign investment, and drafting a law to prevent forced technology transfers.

Crude oil prices were up around 1 percent at the start of trading Wednesday through OPEC curbing oil production and with the ongoing trade talks between the US and China generating investor optimism. Europe, Japan and other trading partners have echoed Washington's complaints that those violate Beijing's market-opening obligations. US officials have repeatedly accused China of not fulfilling agreements, with Ross saying on Monday that 'the real issue is what are the enforcement mechanisms, what are the punishments if people don't do what they were supposed to do?'

In what is widely seen as a goodwill gesture, China on Tuesday issued long-awaited approvals for the import of five genetically modified crops, which could boost its purchases of United States grains as farmers decide which crops to plant in the spring. The hedge fund industry has cut significantly its bullish positions in crude futures.

"If it's a good outcome, it doesn't just benefit the USA and China, but it is also good news for the world economy", said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang. "The limited policy movement that we've seen so far suggests that a game-changing deal remains unlikely". It will also reveal more about what both sides have tentatively agreed on.

Should China reform its regulation policies to allow more US access to its markets, USA negotiators want guarantees that they won't erase newfound openness by using government authority to block American companies.

The US smartphone maker has felt the pinch of the bruising trade spat, and warned that 2018 revenues would miss its forecast - in large part due to a slump in iPhone sales in China.

More news: Fiji Water girl Kelleth Cuthbert star of show at Golden Globe Awards

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

China's economy was more vulnerable to the fallout from the trade war, he said, noting that Beijing exports more goods to the United States than the other way around.

Beijing's growing commercial and political ties with its neighbours will make it harder for Washington to find "Asian countries willing to stand at its side and help contain China", the newspaper said. The U.S. delegation - which is being led by Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish - is requesting China be specific on what U.S. products it will buy and on what specific dates.

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.

Chinese officials complain about controls on "dual use" technology with possible military applications. They complain China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged.

Cooling economic growth in both countries is increasing pressure to reach a settlement.

Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 per cent in the quarter ending in September.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER