US-China Trade Talks conclude in Beijing with some progress, but no deal

Beijing agrees to purchase US soybeans and approved imports of five new GMO crops, but remains unwilling to address problems of IP theft and technology transfers

(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Trade talks between the U.S. delegation and Chinese officials in Beijing have extended into Wednesday along with some small signs of progress, but no deal has yet been announced.

Talks were originally scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, but ended up stretching into further talks on Wednesday, Jan. 9, which spurred some optimistic speculation that the two countries may be coming closer to achieving a deal.

Upon completion of the meetings, Ted McKinney, U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, was quoted by Reuters saying the talks “went just fine," and that "It's been a good one for us.”

The talks in Beijing are the first face-to-face meetings between the two governments since the two sides met in Argentina at the G20 Summit, and agreed to a 90 day armistice in which the Trump administration would not implement any new tariffs.

Reuters reports that progress appears to have been made in areas of U.S. agricultural and energy commodities being granted increased access to the Chinese market. However, Beijing remains reluctant to give ground on structural issues and reforms to curb the widespread problems of IP theft and forced technology transfers.

in the most significant development for the U.S. side, China approved the import of five new genetically modified crops from the U.S., which is good news for grain farmers in the U.S., as they considering which crops to plant in the spring.

Chinese importers also made a large purchase of U.S. Soybeans on Tuesday, Jan. 8, reports Reuters.

China is likely eager to negotiate a quick end to the trade deal, because if no deal is reached by March 1, and if there are no further extensions of the trade war “armistice,” then the Trump administration remains prepared to implement tariffs on all Chinese imports to the U.S.

According to a recent survey of export manufacturers by UBS, time may be quickly running out for China’s manufacturing base.

Out of 200 export manufacturers surveyed in China at the start of 2019, 37 percent had already transferred some production outside of China in the previous year. While another 33 percent are already planning to shift production out of China in the next six months to a year, reports China Economic Review.

The next round of talks are expected to take place in Washington later in January, when the U.S, will host one of China's top official, Vice Premier Liu He, according to reports.