China trade talks conclude as hopes of a deal build

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Bloomberg News

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Monday that Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels were dispatched to identify the US vessel and warn it to leave the area near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Delegations from China and the US ended talks in Beijing on Wednesday amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of USA farm and energy commodities and increased access to China's markets. "Both sides agreed to keep in close contact", the statement said.

Key decisions on some of the tougher issues are expected to be left for future rounds of talks, such as USA complaints that Beijing's policies force American companies to hand over technology and unfairly boost Chinese firms with subsidies.

As of 8:25 pm in Beijing, neither the Chinese side nor the Americans had released a statement - a possible sign of message coordination as the U.S. delegation returned to Washington.

It added the two countries discussed "ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations",.as well as issues related to intellectual property protection.

Stocks rose globally after the two economic powers appeared to inch closer to an agreement, with the S&P 500 Index rising for a fourth day to the highest in nearly a month.

"At the beginning of 2018 the global economy was firing on all cylinders, but it lost speed during the year and the ride could get even bumpier in the year ahead, " World Bank Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva, said in a semi-annual report released late on Tuesday.

Trump, who has accused China and other nations of exploiting the United States in global trade, has said he will raise tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports if no deal is reached by March 2.

China and the United States concluded three days of talks by midlevel trade officials January 9 with a cautious sense of optimism that the world's two biggest economies might be able to reach a deal that ends their bruising trade war.

Latest US-China Trade Talks Focus on China’s Pledge to Buy More US Goods – USTR

"The talks ... focused on China's pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States", the USTR said in its statement.

Oil prices jumped more than 4 percent on Wednesday as the extension of U.S. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 26,394.06, while the Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,545.05.

The next phase of trade negotiations will involve higher-level talks, likely when Trump attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later in January.

China also restarted purchases of American soybeans last month, providing relief for a crop hit by Chinese retaliatory tariffs. But he added, "The two sides both have responsibility to create necessary and good atmosphere to this end". WTI is among the most popular USA light crude grades with Asian buyers. But neither side appears to have budged, and economists say three months is too little time to resolve issues that have disrupted U.S. The Chinese side has suggested talks were "constructive".

US President Donald Trump tweeted that they were "going really well!"

China was believed to be preparing its own separate statement on the talks.

On Monday, Chinese importers made another large purchase of United States soybeans, their third in the past month. But if a deal doesn't happen, remember, "I am a Tariff Man", Trump said.

With cooling economic growth raising the urgency for a settlement, this week's talks went ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on US charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

USA official says China trade talks 'went just fine'
The talks were extended into an unscheduled third day, showing both sides were "serious", China's foreign ministry said.

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