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‘US-China trade talks going very well’

January 09, 2019

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BEIJING: US President Donald Trump boasted on Tuesday that US-China trade negotiations were going “very well” as officials held talks in Beijing that will spill into a third day.

A member of the US delegation said the two sides would resume talks on Wednesday as they continue their first face-to-face meetings since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a tariff truce during a meeting in Argentina on Dec 1.

The talks are taking longer than expected as the Chinese commerce ministry had said last week that the meetings would take place on Monday and Tuesday.

“Talks with China are going very well!” Trump said on Twitter, but gave no further information.

The meeting between the US delegation — led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and including officials from the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy departments — and the Chinese side ran late into Tuesday night.

“I can confirm we are continuing tomorrow (Wednesday),” Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, told reporters after returning to his hotel in Beijing.

He declined to provide more details.

The Trump administration wants Beijing to abandon its strategy of seeking global industrial predominance through the alleged forced transfer — and even the theft — of American technology, and end massive state intervention in markets.

The temporary ceasefire came after the two sides imposed import duties on more than $300 billion of each other’s goods.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that China’s economy was more vulnerable to the fallout from the trade war.

“It certainly has hurt the Chinese economy,” Ross told CNBC, noting that China exports many more goods to the United States than the other way around.

Ross said there was a “very good chance” of reaching an agreement, although monitoring compliance would present a challenge.

Without a resolution, punitive US duty rates on $200bn in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25pc from 10pc on March 2.

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.

Some analysts say that China — Pyongyang’s key diplomatic ally and main source of trade — could use Kim’s visit as a bargaining chip in the US trade talks.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019

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