China optimistic as trade negotiations with US kick off
12 January, 2019, 10:29
However, the two-day vice-ministerial talks were extended till Wednesday which China said reflected the seriousness of the negotiations. No agreement is expected, but any progress in a trade dispute that caused both sides to impose billions of dollars of tariffs on each other's goods will be welcomed.
Yoon Jung-min has this report.
China and the United States made progress on "structural issues" such as forced technology transfers and intellectual property rights in talks this week and more consultations are being arranged, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday.
By the time President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day tariff truce in early December, the USA had placed a total of $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing had retaliated with $110 billion in tariffs of its own.
The two sides will keep in close contact, it added.
The US statement said negotiations dealt with the need for "ongoing verification and effective enforcement". The statement said that the participants in the Beijing meetings discussed "ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations between our two countries".
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News. "And to do that properly would require significant changes in how China manages its economy - changes that would put the Chinese government and its state-owned enterprises in a vulnerable position".
In addition to the large trade deficit, the U.S. has long complained about such structural issues.
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Trump imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods past year and threatened more to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property and hacking. Forecasters expect American orders to slump this year.
Trump hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.
From January 7 to 9, a US delegation was in Beijing for talks about trade issues amid an ongoing 90-day truce in the trade war.
"We urge the United States to immediately cease this kind of provocation", he said, adding that China had sent military ships and aircraft to identify and warn off the ship. However, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - who was not present for the talks, but who is tasked with overseeing the negotiating effort - has long emphasized a harder stance on the trade issue, one that would necessitate real Chinese action to reform its state-centric economic approach.
For its part, Beijing is unhappy with U.S. export and investment curbs, such as controls on "dual use" technology with possible military applications. They say China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged.
While Chinese goods going to the US initially held up in the face of higher tariffs due to so-called front-loading, their value slumped in the final quarter of 2018, according to the latest available data.
The American delegation in Beijing includes officials from the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy departments.
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