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U.S.-China trade talks conclude as hopes of a deal build

Reuters  |  BEIJING 

By Cate and Michael Martina

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese and U.S. teams ended trade talks in Beijing on Wednesday that lasted longer than expected and officials said details will be released soon, raising hopes an all-out trade war that could badly disrupt the global economy can be avoided.

The talks were extended into an unscheduled third day, showing both sides were "serious", China's foreign ministry said.

Share prices jumped in and markets in and the were expected to follow suit as the longer talks fuelled optimism that the world's largest economies were inching towards an agreement.

Ted McKinney, U.S. under for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said the U.S. trade delegation would return to the later on Wednesday after a "good few days".

"I think they went just fine," McKinney said of the talks.

"It's been a good one for us," he told reporters at the delegation's hotel, without elaborating.

Speaking at a daily briefing, Chinese confirmed both sides had agreed to extend the talks beyond Monday and Tuesday as originally scheduled.

Asked if that meant the talks had been difficult, Lu said: "I can only say that extending the consultations shows that the two sides were indeed very serious in conducting the consultations."

This week's meetings are the first face-to-face talks since U.S. and Chinese agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global financial markets.

The of a state-run Chinese newspaper said in a he expected and the to release statements early on Thursday.

"From what I know, the trade talks, though arduous, were conducted in a pleasant and candid atmosphere. Neither side has made a briefing, because the U.S. delegation is on the plane now," wrote Hu Xijin, of the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's official

"The two sides will release messages at the same time on Thursday morning Beijing time," Hu said.

LOOMING DEADLINE

The extra day of talks came amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of U.S. farm and and increased access to China's markets.

However, people familiar with the negotiations told on Tuesday the two sides were further apart on Chinese structural reforms that the is demanding in order to stop alleged theft and forced transfer of U.S. technology, and on how will be held to its promises.

If no deal is reached by March 2, Trump has said he will proceed with raising tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, at a time when China's economy is slowing significantly. Beijing has retaliated in turn to U.S. tariffs.

But as meetings wound down in Beijing on Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted: "Talks with are going very well!"

The U.S. team is led by Deputy U.S. Trade Jeffrey Gerrish, and includes under secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from the

heads the vice ministerial level talks for China, though Liu He, a top economic adviser to Xi, made an appearance at a meeting on Monday.

China is keen to put an end to its trade dispute with the United States but will not make any "unreasonable concessions" and any agreement must involve compromise on both sides, state newspaper said on Wednesday.

The paper said in an editorial that Beijing's stance remained firm that the dispute harms both countries and disrupts the international trade order and supply chains.

In what was widely seen as a goodwill gesture, China on Tuesday issued long-awaited approvals for the import of five genetically modified crops, which could boost its purchases of U.S. grains as farmers decide which crops to plant in the spring.

On Monday, Chinese importers made another large purchase of U.S. soybeans, their third in the past month.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell, and in BEIJING and Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI; Writing by and Ryan Woo; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 17:59 IST
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