United States and China wrap up trade talks in Beijing. What happens next?

Mae Love
January 10, 2019

"Neither side has made a briefing, because the US delegation is on the plane now", wrote Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily.

A U.S. delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday for the first face-to-face dialogue with officials in Beijing since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a three-month tariff truce during a meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina on December 1.

However, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters on Tuesday the two sides were further apart on Chinese structural reforms that the Trump administration is demanding in order to stop alleged theft and forced transfer of US technology, and on how China will be held to its promises.

China and the U.S. "conducted extensive, in-depth and meticulous exchanges on trade issues and structural issues of common concern, which enhanced mutual understanding and laid the foundation for resolving issues of mutual concerns", the commerce ministry said in a statement. -Chinese relations for years. Europe, Japan and other trading partners have echoed Washington's complaints that those violate Beijing's market-opening obligations.

Chinese officials have suggested Beijing might alter its industrial plans but reject pressure to abandon what they consider a path to prosperity and global influence.

Beijing has tried to defuse pressure for more sweeping change by offering concessions including purchasing more American soybeans, natural gas and other exports.

The negotiations appeared to have been making progress on areas such as China stepping up purchases of American exports and giving USA companies greater access to its market in order to build confidence between the two sides after months of bitter confrontation.

The current trade round coincided with an unannounced visit from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks with Xi, ahead of a possible second meeting between Kim and Trump. "The US is very clear about China's stance".

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"The extension of the talks indicate that both sides take this very seriously", Lu said.

The US goods trade deficit with China was Dollars 375.6 billion in 2017.

Also, if Washington refuses to extend the Iranian crude oil import waivers it granted in November to eight large buyers-including China and India-they will need an alternative source of crude and it might just be the United States.

The talks "enhanced mutual understanding, and established a foundation for solving, each other's concerns", said the statement, stressing that both sides agreed to maintain close communication, while providing few other details.

With cooling economic growth raising the urgency for a settlement, this week's talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on US charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran. It included agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.

The Global Times commentary said China's growing economy means it can "carry out a more intense boycott" of trade with the United States if needed. U.S. president Donald Trump tweeted without elaborating, as talks wound down late on Tuesday evening in Beijing.

The talks are occurring as Chinese growth - 6.5 percent in the July-to-September period - fell to its lowest point in a decade.

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