US Says China Willing to Buy More American as Trade Talks End

Irving Hamilton
January 10, 2019

On Monday, Chinese importers made another large purchase of United States soybeans, their third in the past month.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the two sides were narrowing their differences, with Chinese officials offering greater purchases of United States goods and services and Cabinet-level follow-up meetings expected later this month.

America is seeking assurances that China will buy more products from the U.S.in order to reduce the trade deficit, and it wants a fairer playing field for US companies that do business inside China, NPR has reported.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.4 per cent in the third quarter and unemployment is at a five-decade low.

The US wrapped up three days of mid-level talks with China in Beijing on Wednesday (Jan 9), noting a commitment by President Xi Jinping's government to buy more US agricultural goods, energy and manufactured products.

In what is widely seen as a goodwill gesture, China on Tuesday issued long-awaited approvals for the import of five genetically modified crops, which could boost its purchases of USA grains as farmers decide which crops to plant in the spring.

A U.S. delegation arrived in Beijing on January 7 for the first face-to-face dialogue with officials in Beijing since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a three-month tariff truce during a meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina on December 1.

Trump imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods previous year and has threatened more to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from industrial subsidies to intellectual property to hacking.

The second day of trade negotiations coincided with an unannounced visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks with Xi in Beijing, amid speculation of a second meeting between Kim and Trump.

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

Expect a lot of volatility, but at this point I think you will have to be very cautious about shorting the market, as it certainly looks as if it's ready to go.

After extending to an unexpected third day, trade talks between US and Chinese officials have concluded, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry announced Wednesday morning.

U.S. companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. Those include subsidies and other favors for high-tech and state-owned industry, rules on technology licensing and preferential treatment of domestic suppliers in government procurement.

Brent and the world's other key contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), slumped late past year, hitting 18-month low points at $49.93 and $42.36 per barrel respectively. -China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China.

For its part, Beijing is unhappy with U.S. export and investment curbs, suggesting it might demand concessions. They complain China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged.

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 USA charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

The US delegation, led by Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, was supposed to end its visit on Tuesday. It included agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.

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