China says trade talks with U.S. were extensive, promoted mutual understanding

Andrew Cummings
January 12, 2019

But the lack of details from both sides following the meetings highlights the uncertainty that remains, analysts say.

As per the Chinese Commerce Ministry statement, both countries "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 mutual concerns".

The discussions during the past two days "went well", according to Steven Winberg, an Energy Department official who spoke to reporters in Beijing.

Asked what he expected to come out of this week's talks in Beijing, Trump sounded a positive note.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Kim's visit and the trade talks were "two separate matters".

"This is what China has wished for, but I think the US will wait and see", Chiu said.


The two sides will keep in close contact, it added.

Most Asian markets have opened lower after China and the US wrapped up trade talks without indicating if they made progress on resolving a dispute over Chinese technology policies that has the world's two biggest economies embroiled in a bruising trade war.

The World Bank this week cut its outlook for the global economy as growth in trade and investment slowed and rising interest rates sapped momentum, especially in emerging markets.

A statement on the talks from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) did not mention any new breakthroughs, but instead listed longstanding topics of discussion.

Productive talks could be a boon to the economies of both countries, which spent most of 2018 mired in a trade war that imposed hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs on each other's goods.

Amid a 90-day tariff truce between China and the United States since December, the three-day talks ended on Thursday with Beijing promising to import a large number of American products and services, reported CNBC.


However, the USTR statement emphasized American insistence on "structural changes" in Chinese technology policy, market access, protection of foreign patents and copyrights and cyber theft of trade secrets.

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

Chinese exports to the USA have held up despite tariff increases, partly due to exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit.

It softened its stand by offering a mix of concessions by resuming purchases of United States soybeans, suspended punitive tariffs on imports of USA cars and toned down its "Made in China 2025" plan, which aimed at breaking the country's reliance on foreign technology and pull its hi-tech industries up to western levels.

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

Should China reform its regulation policies to allow more USA access to its markets, US negotiators want guarantees that they won't erase newfound openness by using government authority to block American companies.


"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".

Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER