China-US trade talks end on positive note

12 January, 2019, 10:27 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • USS Mc Campbell departs U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka and transits into Tokyo Bay

Chinese exports to the USA have held up despite tariff increases of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports, partly because of exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit.

"Top administration officials are confident they have enough leverage to win significant changes", NPR's Shanghai correspondent Rob Schmitz reports, "including an end to China's practice of forcing USA companies to hand over key technology in return for gaining access to China's market, and an agreement to buy more products from the U.S". For sales going the other direction, the crunch was more immediate.

No schedule for further face-to-face negotiations was released after the talks.

Still, the USA statement said the negotiations dealt with the need for any deal with China to be "subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement" - a comment that reflects us frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments.

US SHUTDOWN: President Donald Trump's televised address Tuesday night helped soothe frazzled nerves over what steps he might take in the standoff with lawmakers over border wall funding, which has resulted in a partial government shutdown. 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.

The USS McCampbell carried out a "freedom of navigation" operation, sailing within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Island chain, "to challenge excessive maritime claims", Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Rachel McMarr said in an emailed statement. "Uncertainty is bad for business". Trump has complained repeatedly about the US trade deficit with China, which past year likely exceeded the 2017 gap of $336 billion.

"The disputes between the world's largest economies already led to tariff hikes on a wide range of industrial, manufacturing and agricultural products", NPR business correspondent Yuki Noguchi reports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the conduct of the USA ship had violated China's and worldwide law, and China had lodged "stern representations".

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The American delegation was led by one of Lighthizer's deputies, Jeffrey D. Gerrish. Economists now see the threat of deflation in China after producer price inflation slowed sharply in December, to the weakest pace since 2016.

Beijing also faces pressure over technology from the European Union.

The truce came after the two sides imposed import duties on more than $300 billion of each other's goods. Chinese pledges to increase US imports would naturally center on a boost in agricultural products sent to China.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed optimism on Monday, telling CNBC that "there's a very good chance that we'll get a reasonable settlement".

Additionally, the US and China will meet for a third day on Wednesday.

The US has been conducting naval and air patrols periodically through the area to assert freedom of navigation inviting strong criticism from China.

Trump is increasingly eager to strike a deal with China soon in an effort to perk up financial markets that have slumped on concerns over the trade war, according to people familiar with internal White House deliberations.

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