US, China Open Trade Talks to Ease Tensions

Posted January 08, 2019

Mr Trump had said on Sunday (Jan 6) that trade talks with China were going very well, noting that the weak Chinese economy was giving Beijing an incentive to negotiate and reach a deal.

The working level talks held at the Chinese Commerce Ministry were the first round of face-to-face discussions since both sides agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled worldwide markets.

Last year, Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods, with China retaliating with its own tariff increases on $110 billion of USA exports.

Since March, the US has slapped tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while China has placed a series of retaliatory tariffs on USA goods totaling $110 billion.

A US guided-missile destroyer on Monday sailed within 12 nautical miles of disputed islands in the South China Sea "to challenge excessive maritime claims", a Pacific Fleet spokeswoman told Reuters. "As for whether this move has any impact to the ongoing China-U.S. trade consultations.to properly resolve existing issues of all kinds between China and the U.S.is good for the two countries and the world".

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China on Friday cut bank reserve requirements amid slowing growth at home and pressure from the U.S. tariffs.

"Of course, in the past two years of trade talks, China has also promised a lot, but has not fundamentally fulfilled much of them", Qin told NTD Television, in an interview.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed during a press conference later that day that the US sent a vessel into the area "without permission from the Chinese side". They complain China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged. Mnuchin told Bloomberg News in December that the US was "confirming the logistics of several meetings" that could be held with China during the forum.

During that 90-day period, agreements "may not be reached until the last day", said Tu Xinquan, director of the China Institute for World Trade Organization Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. China has said it could consider a deal that involves increasing its purchases of U.S. goods.

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If there is no deal by March 1, Washington has said it will go ahead with a sharp hike in tariffs on Chinese goods originally set for January 1. The move prompted China to increase tariffs on Dollars 110 billion of United States goods.

The move comes as trade talks between China and the United States are underway in Beijing, the first round of face-to-face discussions since both sides agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global markets. The economy needs certainty.

For their part, Chinese officials are unhappy with US curbs on exports of "dual use" technology with possible military applications.

The investment bank UBS said 37 percent of 200 manufacturers surveyed said they have shifted out of China over the past 12 months.

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

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The current round of negotiations is being held at the vice-ministerial level, with the US' team of negotiators led by Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish.