US-China trade talks conclude, China says meeting ‘laid the foundation’

The talks were “extensive” and both parties agreed to continue to maintain close contact, China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

China and United States (US) officials concluded the trade talks on Wednesday. The round of trade talks, which took place from January 7th to 9th, were “extensive” and helped lay “the foundation for resolving issues”, China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

In the statement, China’s commerce ministry said China and the US "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 issues of mutual concerns."

With the successful talks, both parties agreed to continue to maintain close contact, the ministry added.

US also issued its own statement earlier in the day, stating that the meetings were held as part of the trade truce agreement between US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping which was made at the G20 Summit in December.

The US statement said the parties met up to “discuss ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations between our two countries.” “The officials also discussed the need for any agreement to provide for complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement,” it said.

The negotiations were made with “a view to achieving needed structural changes in China with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft of trade secrets for commercial purposes, services, and agriculture,” said the US’ Office of the United States Trade Representative.

The statement added that the US officials conveyed Mr Trump’s commitment to addressing US’ persistent trade deficit and to resolving structural issues in order to improve trade between both countries.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, the fact that the talks were extended longer than the stipulated days showed that “the two sides were indeed very serious in conducting the consultations”.

Mr Ted McKinney, who serves as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs told reporters in Beijing that the talks have “been a good one”, without elaborating.

US officials cited by Reuters on Wednesday said progress has been made on talks revolving around the purchases of US farm and energy commodities, as well as increased access to China’s markets.

If both parties do not reach a deal by March 2, the US will proceed with raising tariffs to 25% from 10% on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

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