US, China Hold More Trade Talks Overshadowed By Kim Jong Un's Visit

Lloyd Doyle
January 10, 2019

The first round of comprehensive trade talks between the United States and China since the countries declared a tentative ceasefire late a year ago is set to continue for a third day, both sides confirmed on Tuesday.

Last year, the United States imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

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

A statement from the Chinese government was expected as soon as Wednesday. Europe, Japan and other trading partners have echoed Washington's complaints that those violate Beijing's market-opening obligations. They have tried to defuse pressure for more sweeping change by offering trade concessions including purchasing more American soybeans, natural gas and other exports.

A combination of lower shipping costs and lower domestic demand will boost USA crude oil exports to Asia, Reuters reports, citing sources from the commodity trading and shipping industries. "The limited policy movement that we've seen so far suggests that a game-changing deal remains unlikely".

Trump, who has been accusing China of indulging in unfair trade practices contributing to the huge trade deficit amounting to $375 billion, on January 8 said the trade talks with Beijing were going on "very well".

The looking to crack down on China's business practices, including allegations of technology theft along with slashing the trade deficit and getting more access to Chinese markets.

The foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said the talks wrapped up Wednesday.

China's position on trade is "transparent and the USA side is well aware of it", said Lu Kang. "China does not need to use any other tactics".

The USTR gave no indication as to what, if any, agreements had been made during the latest round of talks, but said that the US delegation would now "report back to receive guidance on the next steps". Both sides have provided scant information about their discussions.

Trump boasted on Twitter on Tuesday that discussions in China were "going very well!".

The U.S. delegation includes under secretaries from the U.S. departments of agriculture, commerce, energy and treasury, as well as senior officials from the White House.

But if the countries fail to reach a deal by March 2, Trump has threatened to restart the trade war, increasing tariffs on 200 billion dollars-worth of Chinese imports from ten to twenty-five percent. 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.

Companies in both the United States and China are feeling the pain from the effects of the US-China trade dispute.

Since the end of October a year ago, chartering a Very large Crude Carrier from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port has fallen by some 40 percent to US$5 million, Reuters Eikon data suggests.

Beijing's growing commercial and political ties with its neighbours will make it harder for Washington to find "Asian countries willing to stand at its side and help contain China", the newspaper said.

Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 per cent in the quarter ending in September. Weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices. There are concerns that USA growth, 3.4 percent in the third quarter, is also slowing even as the country's unemployment rate remains almost at a five-decade low.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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