Beijing hails 'important progress' in US-China trade talks

Beijing also added that both sides agreed to take measures to balance US-China trade.
Beijing also added that both sides agreed to take measures to balance US-China trade.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - Beijing has hailed the "important progress" made at this week's trade talks between China and the United States, which it said were "frank, specific and constructive".

"Both sides have also set out a timeline and road map for the next step of talks," reported state news agency Xinhua after the talks concluded in Washington on Thursday (Jan 31).

Beijing struck an upbeat tone on the outcome of the two-day talks, noting that negotiators had discussed a range of issues but focused on the trade imbalance, intellectual property rights protection, and the implementation mechanism of any eventual deal reached.

"Both sides attach great importance to intellectual property rights protection and technology transfer problem, and agreed to further strengthen cooperation," said the Xinhua report.

It also added that both sides agreed to take measures to balance US-China trade.

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser, had led a Chinese delegation to Washington for the Cabinet-level talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

This is the second round of discussions between both sides since officials met in Beijing last month.

 
 
 
 

The end of this round of negotiations comes just as China heads into its Chinese New Year holidays, and businesses shut down for the most important festival in the country.

The clock is ticking on the 90-day trade war truce that the leaders of both countries brokered in Argentina last December. A deal must be reached by March 1, failing which the US will impose heightened tariffs on US$200 billion (S$270 billion) of Chinese imports.

One key US concern is that Beijing sticks to any agreed deal. Xinhua's statement signalled that there appeared to be progress on this front.

The news agency reported that both sides had agreed that "constructing a two-way implementation mechanism is very important, and will be helpful to ensuring that the various measures from the talks are implemented and effective".

"Both sides have reached a consensus in principle, on the implementation mechanism's framework and basic points, and will continue to refine it," reported Xinhua.