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China, US conclude 'constructive' trade talks


IANS Beijing
Government representatives from the US and China on Friday concluded a fresh round of constructive trade negotiations here ahead of another round of talks in Washington that could pave the way for a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sign off on a deal later in the month.
"@USTradeRep (Robert Lighthizer) and I concluded constructive trade talks in Beijing," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted. Another round of trade talks between the US and China will be held on April 3 in Washington.
"I look forward to welcoming China's Vice Premier Liu He to continue these important discussions in Washington next week," he was quoted as saying by Efe news.
Mnuchin also posted a photograph along with the text where he could be seen shaking hands with the Treasury Secretary and the Chinese representative, against a backdrop of flags of both the countries.
"In the past rounds of talks, one or both sides have released statements, but not sure they will keep doing so, if there isn't anything further to report," an official told Efe news.
The US delegation arrived in Beijing on Thursday and began discussions with Chinese officials over a working dinner.
The agenda of the discussions included the contentious issue of tariffs, skewed trade balance between the two countries, forced transfer of technology, protection of intellectual property rights and restrictions on foreign investments.
During the Boao Forum on Thursday, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that China will open new economic sectors to foreign investment by the end of July.
Li had also assured further opening in the service industry, including telecommunications, healthcare and education as well as financial sector including banks, insurance companies and financial institutions.
Trump's economic policy adviser Larry Kudlow and Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng indicated that the negotiations were unlikely to be finalized in Washington next week.
Gao said, before the dinner on Thursday, that although a certain progress has been achieved during telephonic conversations between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his American counterparts, a lot of ground remained uncovered yet.
Kudlow added that the expected agreement could take weeks and months.
During their meeting in Buenos Aires on December 1, Trump and Xi had agreed to halt the trade war for 90 days while their administrations negotiated common positions on various issues.
However, despite the initial goodwill measures by both the countries, last week Trump had said that some tariffs will be retained on Chinese products for a substantial period until it complies with the agreements.

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First Published: Mar 29 2019 | 6:56 PM IST

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