Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

China-US trade talks end on positive note

US destroyer sails in disputed South China Sea amid trade talks US-China Trade Talks Wrap Up After Extending To Third Day
Deanna Wagner | 11 January, 2019, 20:55

Asian stock markets responded well to the news that the two-day meetings would extend to three days.

The second day of trade negotiations coincided with an unannounced visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks with Xi in Beijing, amid speculation of a second meeting between Kim and Trump.

China has pledged to "purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States", said the Office of the United States Trade Representative in a statement after the talks.

China and the United States made progress on "structural issues" such as forced technology transfers and intellectual property rights in talks this week and more consultations are being arranged, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday. The US imposed tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Those include initiatives such as "Made in China 2025", which calls for state-led creation of Chinese global champions in robotics, artificial intelligence and other fields.

The Chinese side was led by Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen.

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.

"The risk of talks breaking down remains significant", they wrote. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Fox Business Network, "We're optimistic".

Asked if that meant the talks had been hard, Lu said: "I can only say that extending the consultations shows that the two sides were indeed very serious in conducting the consultations".

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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.

Companies that have been disappointed by Beijing's failure or delays in carrying out commitments want an enforcement mechanism with "some kind of penalty for not doing what they promised", said Parker.

Beijing has tried to defuse pressure from its trading partners for more sweeping changes by offering concessions on investment regulations and stepping up purchases of American soybeans, natural gas and other exports.

The three-day talks in Beijing that wrapped up on Wednesday were the first face-to-face negotiations since US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in Buenos Aires in December and agreed a 90-day truce in a trade war that has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

That enthusiasm was wearing thin Thursday. Hong Kong's main market index closed up 2.1 percent and Tokyo rose 1.1 percent. "This is what China has wished for, but I think the US will wait and see", Chiu said. "That is very positive".

"I don't think the USA will easily remove tariffs that have been imposed on Chinese goods". Forecasters expect American orders to slump this year. China responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for United States companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

US companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. China retaliated with tariffs of its own.

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

"Listen, I think in the end markets are not really going to care very much about the details of any deal that's struck as long as a deal is struck and directionally looks like we are going toward deescalation rather than escalation", said Jimmy Pethokoukis, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.