China trade talks conclude on optimistic note in Beijing

10 January, 2019, 10:57 | Author: Sally Reid
  • US and China wrap up trade talks in Beijing. What happens next?

The US released a statement on the meetings, alluding to at least one potential concrete commitment on the part of China.

She added that the Trump administration's complaint that China is stealing US intellectual property is "top of mind" in the negotiations with Beijing.

Gold prices rose on Wednesday, with spot gold (XAU=) up 0.68 percent to $1,293.65 per ounce. China responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for USA companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

The trade talks in Beijing were carried over into an unscheduled third day, amid signs of progress on issues including Chinese purchases of USA farm and energy commodities. They have tried to defuse pressure for more sweeping change by offering trade concessions including purchasing more American soybeans, natural gas and other exports. President Donald Trump tweeted "Talks with China are going very well!" late on Tuesday in Beijing.

While there were indications that China would be open to buying more USA agricultural and energy products and allowing market access, demands for Chinese structural reforms to halt forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft were greater hurdles in the discussions, people familiar with the talks said. That includes giving specific dates for making purchases, and making assurances that Beijing won't hinder US companies from gaining access to China's market.

Also Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing in a possible effort to co-ordinate with the North's only major ally ahead of a possible meeting with Trump.

This week's meetings are the first face-to-face talks since Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global financial markets.

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Washington has been clamouring for an end to the forced transfer - and even theft - of American technology, as well as steep government subsidies for Chinese companies. Forecasters expect American orders to slump this year. USA negotiators are also taking steps to ensure the Chinese government actually follows through on its promises.

Beijing has said it will not give up ground on issues that it perceives as core.

United States companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. "There is the potential for Q2 USA crude exports to Asia to be higher year-on-year if the WTI/Brent spread remains in the range it has in recent months and with the lower freight rates", Reuters quoted a Genscape oil analyst, David Arno, as saying.

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. -China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China. The 28-nation trade bloc filed its own challenge in the World Trade Organization in June against Chinese licensing rules it said hamper the ability of foreign companies to protect and profit from their technology.

"I am looking for Liu He to go to Washington after this round of talks - the timing is actually very critical for the markets", said Iris Pang, China economist from ING Bank. "It's probably going to take a little longer".

But it also said any deal with China must be followed up with ongoing verification and enforcement.

Official US fuel storage data from the Energy Information Administration is due at 1800 GMT on Wednesday.

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