China and the US wrapped up three days of trade talks, with people familiar saying their positions were closer on areas including energy and agriculture but further apart on harder issues.
Beijing will be releasing a statement soon on the negotiations, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, adding that a one-day extension shows both sides are serious about the talks. Some disagreements remain on structural issues and they need to be addressed when more senior negotiators meet later on, according to Chinese officials involved in the discussions who asked not to be identified.
Later this month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to meet with Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide who is leading negotiations for China, a person familiar with the situation said last week. Liu made a brief appearance at the talks in Beijing on Monday, boosting optimism that China was serious about making progress on a deal.
Stocks gained from Europe to Asia and US futures rose on fresh hope for a breakthrough in the negotiations.
The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper known for its nationalist leanings, said on Twitter around 4 pm in Beijing that he’d heard the two sides were still consulting on the wording of their “coordinated” statements.
The mid-level talks were the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since both presidents met on December 1. Prior to the meeting, China made a number of concessions to US demands, including temporarily cutting punitive tariffs on US-made cars, resuming soybean purchases, promising to open up its markets for more foreign investment, and drafting a law to prevent forced technology transfers.
The negotiations were extended from the two days initially scheduled, according to the Chinese. President Donald Trump tweeted “Talks with China are going very well!” late on Tuesday in Beijing.