China, US conclude first round of trade talks
Beijing: The first round of face-to-face negotiations between representatives of China and the US aimed at resolving the countries’ bilateral trade war ended on Wednesday in the Chinese capital.
“The US-China trade talks just concluded. If the results of the talks are positive, it would be beneficial for both countries and it would be good news for the global economy,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang at a press conference.
Although at first the meeting was scheduled to take place on January 7 and 8, negotiations continued until late in the evening and both sides decided to prolong them one more day, Efe news reported.
“I can only say that extending the consultations indicates that both sides were very serious about it,” Lu said.
The spokesperson did not provide any details on the outcome of the meeting, or on whether additional talks had been planned.
Analysts cited by the official Global Times on Wednesday pointed out the conversation reflected the will of the negotiating teams to reach an agreement.
This was the first face-to-face meeting between representatives from both countries since Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed to a 90-day truce on December 1.
The US delegation, headed by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, also had members from the departments of Energy, Agriculture and Treasury.
The Chinese delegation was led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen, but Vice Premier Liu He, a key economic adviser to Xi, participated in one of the meetings held on Monday, Lu said.
Since the Beijing-Washington truce, China undertook several goodwill measures such as lowering tariffs on imported vehicles from the US, resuming the purchase of soya and submitting a bill to ban the forced transfer of technology.
Trump, on his part, temporarily suspended the planned 10-25 per cent increase in tariffs on Chinese products valued at $200 billion, but threatened to discontinue the plan if a trade agreement was not closed before the expiry of the 90-day term.