US and Chinese officials extended trade war talks into a third day yesterday, with a member of the American delegation saying negotiations “went just fine”. The US officials have been in Beijing since Monday for the first sit-down talks since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed on December 1 to a three-month truce on a tit-for-tat trade spat.
Asian markets rose on increasing optimism that the two sides would be able to hammer out a deal ahead of a March deadline and avert further import tariff hikes. A member of the US delegation, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, told reporters that the team would return to the United States later on Wednesday, and talks were “were wrapping up now”.
“I think they went just fine,” McKinney said as he left the hotel with his luggage, adding the trip “has been a good one for us”. Trump boasted on Twitter on Tuesday that discussions in China were “going very well!” The US delegation, led by Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, had been scheduled to end its visit on Tuesday.
Washington has been clamouring for an end to the alleged forced transfer -- and even theft -- of American technology, as well as steep government subsidies for Chinese companies. The Trump administration also wants Beijing to buy more American goods to narrow a yawning trade gap and allow foreign players better access to the Chinese market. Neither Chinese nor US officials have given any details about the discussions.