China says US trade talks 'laid foundation' to resolve concerns

Beijing (AFP) –


China said Thursday that trade talks in Beijing with a US negotiating team had "laid the foundation" to resolve concerns held by both sides in a bruising trade war.

US officials visited Beijing from Monday to Wednesday for the first sit-down talks since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed on December 1 to a three-month truce in the escalating trade spat.

World markets rose on increasing optimism that the two sides would be able to hammer out a deal ahead of a March deadline and avert further import tariff hikes.

China and the US "conducted extensive, in-depth and meticulous exchanges on trade issues and structural issues of common concern, which enhanced mutual understanding and laid the foundation for resolving issues of mutual concerns," the commerce ministry said in a statement.

"Both parties agreed to continue to maintain close contact," the ministry said.

Washington has been clamouring for an end to the forced transfer -- and even theft -- of American technology, as well as steep government subsidies for Chinese companies.

The Trump administration also wants Beijing to buy more American goods to narrow a yawning trade gap and allow foreign players better access to the Chinese market.

The US Trade Representative office said Wednesday that the talks focused on "ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations", as well as the need for "ongoing verification and effective enforcement" of any agreement.

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