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U.S., China praise latest trade talks, but no sign of progress



 The U.S. and China hailed two days of trade talks, but failed to point to any significant progress out of the latest round of negotiations in Shanghai which ended on Wednesday.

The Shanghai talks were the first since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 in Japan to resume negotiations and pause any further tariff hikes in their trade war.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement the two sides had constructive and indepth talks, which will continue in September in the US.

Similarly, the White House said the talks were constructive.

While the Chinese side said the parties discussed Beijing purchasing more agricultural goods from the U.S., Washington was more explicit, saying the Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural exports.

Leading the talks were Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the U.S. side, with Vice Premier Liu He and Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan for Beijing.

The meeting marked the 12th round of trade talks since the U.S.-China trade war broke out in 2018.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump also downplayed the chances of progress and insisted he has the upper hand because economic growth is slowing in China.

Prior to the G20 truce, Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on an additional 325 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports, which would mean almost all Chinese goods imported into the U.S. would carry punitive tariffs.

Already, Trump has slapped a 25 per cent tariff on 250 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods and has also moved against Chinese tech, including telecoms giant Hauwei.

However, Trump has indicated he may give some reprieve to Huawei while talks are ongoing, although he faces push back from China hawks on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. side alleges a compehensive trade deal was nearly reached in 2019, but China backed out at the last moment. (Dpa/NAN)


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