Oil prices rise over 2 percent on trade talk optimism

Mae Love
January 9, 2019

The trade talks are the result of an agreement last month between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to stop the tit-for-tat tariff conflict between the two countries for 90 days starting on New Year's Day.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed both sides had agreed to extend the talks beyond Monday and Tuesday as originally scheduled.

US President Donald Trump also said trade talks were going "very well", and he was confident that both sides will come to an agreement. Over the past two days, talks have been under way between the United States and China to find a way to end the conflict.

Increased purchases by China of United States soybeans, oil, liquefied natural gas and financial services are viewed as easier to achieve than major changes to China's industrial policies aimed at transferring USA technology to Chinese firms.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted on Monday that Beijing and Washington could reach a trade deal that "we can live with" as dozens of officials from the world's two largest economies resumed talks in a bid to end their trade dispute.

The talks went ahead despite tensions over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on US charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

"We have made stern complaints with the U.S.", Lu said.

The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and accompanied by senior officials from the White House, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Treasury, according to the USTR.

There was no immediate US response to the Chinese complaint.

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.

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An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war entered a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress.

In the meantime, companies in both countries are feeling pain from the effects of USA tariffs and retaliation from China, which are starting to mount.

Trump imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods past year and has threatened more to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property to hacking.

China and the US wrapped up three days of trade talks, with people familiar with the discussions saying their positions were closer on areas including energy and agriculture but further apart on harder issues.

Beijing also faces pressure over technology from the European Union.

The United States has long complained about access to the vast Chinese market and Beijing's demands USA companies reveal their technology advances.

On Monday, Chinese importers made another large purchase of USA soybeans, their third in the past month. They say China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged.

Vehicle and property sales have slumped as Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent in the third quarter but surveys show consumer confidence weakening.

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