Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

US, China hold more trade talks overshadowed by Kim visit

US, China hold more trade talks overshadowed by Kim visit

China said talks with the USA "laid the foundations" to resolve a damaging trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. She said Wednesday that the timing was unclear but the two sides "are moving towards a more balanced and reciprocal trade agreement with China".

Meanwhile, confirming the conclusion of the trade talks, China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing that "the extension of the talks indicates that both sides are serious about this consultation". Feng added that Russian Federation was China's major partner when it comes to trade growth dynamics.

Without a resolution, punitive USA duty rates on $200 billion in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 2.

The United States says talks in Beijing on ending a bruising trade war focused on Chinese promises to buy more American goods.

The midlevel talks in Beijing concluded on Wednesday.

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

China defends its construction as necessary for self-defense and says that it is rather Washington that is responsible for ratcheting up tensions in the region by sending warships and military plans close to islands Beijing claims.

China and the United States held a talk at the vice-ministerial level on economic and trade issues in Beijing from Monday to Wednesday, said a statement from the Ministry of Commerce.

As Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of China's Global Times newspaper, noted on Twitter, trade issues were addressed "most smoothly".

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China, which illegally claims control of the disputed islands, denounced the patrol as a "provocation" and said it "gravely infringed upon China's sovereignty". The S&P 500 Index has fallen about 7 percent since Trump and Xi agreed on a 90-day truce at their meeting in Argentina last month.

If the two sides are unable to reach a deal by March, President Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent and to possibly levy additional tariffs that would extend to all imports from China.

The discussions "went just fine", he said without elaborating, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

China has also cut tariffs on U.S. cars, dialled back on an industrial development plan known as "Made in China 2025", and told its state refiners to buy more USA oil. 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.

But a more hard question may be whether China agrees to monitoring of such a commitment, a condition that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said is a prerequisite to any deal.

A reduction in Chinese imports of US goods came quickly after the retaliatory imposition of tariffs, the data show.

The US China Business Council, which represents American companies working in China, applauded the "substantive discussions" but urged both sides to make tangible progress on achieving equal treatment of foreign companies in China and changes to policies aimed at technology transfer.

USA companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies.

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