Top China Trade Official Makes Surprise Stop at U.S. Trade Meetings

Delegations from China and the US ended talks that had lasted longer than expected. — Reuters pic

The U.S. trade delegation in Beijing is "wrapping up" meetings with Chinese officials and will return to the United States after a 'good few days, ' a U.S. official said.

Leading shares indices across Asia and Europe rose as brief but positive statements appeared to encourage investors.

The two sides are meeting face-to-face for the first time since Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed December 1 to suspend further punitive action against each other's imports for 90 days while they negotiate over the fight sparked by American complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

A member of the USA 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. "Our sense is that there's good progress on the purchase piece", said one person familiar with the talks.

The China Daily said in an editorial that Beijing's stance remains firm that the dispute harms both countries and disrupts the worldwide trade order and supply chains. Beijing has retaliated in turn to USA tariffs.

The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and accompanied by senior officials from the White House, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Treasury, according to the USTR.

The discussions had been "just fine", he said, without elaborating.

The Chinese side has suggested talks were "constructive".

As the talks began Monday at the Chinese Commerce Ministry, Beijing complained about a US warship in what it said were Chinese waters, but it was unclear whether that would disrupt the proceedings.

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Stocks rose more than 1% on Tuesday ahead of President Trump's first prime-time address to the nation.

USA treasury officials have made the case that market volatility is in part due to the tightening of U.S. monetary policy, and a result of the trade war with China.

"The two sides will release messages at the same time on Thursday morning Beijing time", Hu said. Liu made a brief appearance at the talks in Beijing on Monday, boosting optimism that China was serious about making progress on a deal.

During that G-20 meeting - which took place in the early days of December in Buenos Aires - Xi agreed to a number of concessions in exchange for Trump agreeing to postpone a round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

The second day of trade negotiations coincided with an unannounced visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks with Xi in Beijing, amid speculation of a second meeting between Kim and Trump.

Without a resolution, punitive U.S. duty rates on $200 billion in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 2.

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

One apparent breakthrough this week was an announcement by China that it would approve the imports of five new varieties of genetically modified crops, a decision for which U.S. farmers and businesses had waited years.

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

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