The United States and China will hold vice-ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on next Monday and Tuesday. This is the first working-level negotiations to be held since U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a trade war truce on Dec. 1 in Buenos Aires.
China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website Friday that the two sides “confirmed the dates in a phone call” and “a team led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will visit China to have positive and constructive discussions.”
The world’s two superpowers had agreed to a 90-day ceasefire at their December talk to hash out their differences on key bilateral issues such as alleged Chinese abuses of intellectual property and forced technology transfer. China temporarily suspended the imposition of additional tariffs on U.S. vehicles and resumed the import of soybeans, while Washington withdrew its plan to levy high tariffs on some Chinese imports.
However, the prevailing expectation is that the two sides will not be able to put an end to the long-standing trade conflict at the upcoming working-level talks. There had been under-the-table negotiations between the two countries’ vice-premier level officials last year, but they apparently could not find middle ground. In this sense, next week’s vice-ministerial talks also seem unlikely to produce any specific agreements.
Amid growing anxiety over the slowing global economy, the world’s stocks have tumbled. With Apple reporting a poor performance, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 22,686.22 in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday (local time), a 660.02-point fall (2.83 percent) from the previous day. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average also dropped by 2.26 percent on Friday, but the KOSPI rose by 0.83 percent to finish at 2,010.25. Analysts say that the rise of South Korea’s main index reflects investors’ expectations of trade tensions to be eased following the news on the U.S.-China trade negotiations.
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