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January 10, 2019

US-China conclude first talks since trade war ceasefire

By Beth Wright

The US and China have concluded a longer than expected series of trade talks after delegates met in Beijing this week for the first face-to-face meeting since President Trump and President Xi declared a 90-day ceasefire in the US-China trade war.

A US delegation, led by deputy US Trade Representative (USTR) Jeffrey Gerrish, travelled to China on Friday (4 January) to discuss the trade relationship between the two countries. 

The talks, which began on Monday (7 January), were initially meant to be held for two days but ran into a third day amid what are understood to be signs of progress on issues including purchases of US farm and energy commodities and increased access to China’s markets.

In a tweet on Tuesday, President Trump said talks between the two teams of delegates are going very well.

Meanwhile, a statement from the office of the USTR yesterday said officials discussed ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations between the two countries, along with the need for any agreement to provide for complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement.

The talks also focused on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States. In addition, USTR said the United States officials conveyed President Trump’s commitment to addressing its persistent trade deficit and to resolving structural issues in order to improve trade between the countries.

“The delegation will now report back to receive guidance on the next steps,” it added.

The meetings mark the first time representatives from the US and China have met face-to-face Trump and President Xi declared a 90-day ceasefire in the US-China trade war on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina.

The truce, agreed on 30 November, was welcomed by US associations representing apparel and footwear brands and retailers and allows talks to take place between the two sides. Had a deal not been struck, tariffs on US$200bn worth of Chinese goods would have risen from 10% to 25% on 1 January 2019.

Ted McKinney, US Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, said the US delegation would return to the United States later today after a “good few days”, CNBC reported.

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