China Trade Talks Restart Ahead of March Deadline

The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships near the Paracel Islands an area claimed by China

The US and its allies periodically send planes and warships near the Paracel Islands an area claimed by China

After extending to an unexpected third day, trade talks between US and Chinese officials have concluded, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry announced Wednesday morning. Prior to the meeting, China made a number of concessions to US demands including temporarily cutting punitive tariffs on USA -made cars, promising to open up its markets for more foreign investment, and drafting a law to prevent forced technology transfers.

The USTR statement didn't say whether progress had been achieved on its main concerns. He did not elaborate. The council and other USA business groups have pressed for a resolution to the trade hostilities between the world's two biggest economies.

The USTR statement emphasised American insistence on "structural changes" in Chinese technology policy, market access, protection of foreign patents and copyrights and cyber theft of trade secrets.

China also proposed clear bans on forced technology transfer in new draft foreign investment legislation.

Almost halfway into the 90-day truce, there have been few concrete details on progress made so far.

The truce came after both sides imposed several rounds of tariffs in 2018.

Beijing said that the three-day closed-door talks, which ended on Wednesday, "enhanced mutual understanding and established a foundation for solving each other's concerns".

The U.S. -China Business Council, a group representing American companies doing business in China, said January 9 that it welcomed the "substantive discussions" during the talks, but urged the two sides to reach "measurable" results.

Trump hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

The Chinese responded by slapping tariffs of $110bn worth of United States goods.

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"The earlier escalation of the trade conflict between the USA and China and souring bilateral relations appear to have given way to a more conciliatory approach since early December", he wrote in a note Thursday. In both cases, further declines are on the cards if the talks fail to produce a resolution.

Associate Professor Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said that moving forward, Washington would likely drop some of its demands on China's structural reforms.

"For the next step, both sides will continue to work hard together, and advance the negotiation work according to the original plan".

Since the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina, China resumed purchases of United States soybeans.

For its part, Beijing is unhappy with USA export and investment curbs, such as controls on "dual use" technology with possible military applications.

Last year, the United States imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on Dollars 250 billion of Chinese goods.

That pledge, addressing a trade deficit in goods, was however mentioned only at the end of the statement which focused on the USA demands for structural changes to China's domestic policies.

Companies in both countries just want to see a deal get done. -China Business Council said in a statement.

Still, the USA statement said the negotiations dealt with the need for any deal with China to be "subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement" - a comment that reflects US frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments. 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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