China, US trade negotiators resume talks in Beijing

US, China to resume ‘candid’ trade talks

Trump's economic policy adviser Larry Kudlow and Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng indicated that the negotiations were unlikely to be finalized in Washington next week. Speaking March 29 on CNBC, White House Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said the sides made "good headway" and USA negotiators probably were on their flight back to Washington.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were in the Chinese capital for the first face-to-face meetings between the two sides since President Donald Trump delayed a scheduled March 2 increase in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, citing progress in negotiations. Another round of trade talks between the U.S. and China will be held on April 3 in Washington.

Both sides reported progress in the talks and China also approved majority-owned brokerage joint ventures for US bank JP Morgan Chase and Japan's Nomura, a step toward meeting USA demands for more access to China's financial services market.

The two sides have imposed tariffs on $360 billion in two-way trade since previous year but Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in December.

The focus on the joint wording has become a key issue after US officials complained that Chinese versions of the text had walked back or omitted commitments made by negotiators, the unnamed officials said.

"The prospect of the trade war ending in the very near term is giving a boost to investor confidence, and in turn, we're closing the quarter with some pretty good gains", said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in NY.

During the Boao Forum on Thursday, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that China will open new economic sectors to foreign investment by the end of July.

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Mr Trump has said the two sides were close to a deal, but officials have played down expectations of an imminent agreement.

Mnuchin, Lighthizer and China's trade czar, Vice Premier Liu He exchanged pleasantries in front of reporters before commencing meetings at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse.

"We have to see what the track record is and we're not going to give up our leverage", said Kudlow.

However, despite the initial goodwill measures by both the countries, last week Trump had said that some tariffs will be retained on Chinese products for a substantial period until it complies with the agreements. However, just to clarify, that doesn't necessarily mean all the tariffs will be kept in place.

Kudlow said on Thursday the United States may drop some tariffs if a trade deal is reached, while keeping others in place to ensure Beijing's compliance.

Chinese state-owned companies have also stepped up purchases of U.S. agricultural goods such as soya beans. The US trade deficit with China reached a record high of US$419.2 billion past year.

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