Economy

China pledges to buy 'substantial amount' of U.S. goods: USTR

China pledges to buy 'substantial amount' of U.S. goods: USTR

U.S. -CHINA TALKS: Stock markets have clawed back a lot of ground this year largely because of hopes of a breakthrough in trade discussions between China and the U.S. The lack of news following three days of talks in Beijing was used by many traders as an opportunity to book some profits reaped over recent sessions.

Global Times editor Hu Xijin said that of the issues raised, the trade imbalance problem was "solved most smoothly".

The just-concluded trade discussions between the United States and China have laid the foundation for a future deal, with progress being made on thorny issues including forced technology transfers and intellectual property protection, China's Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) said yesterday. But neither side gave any indication of the next step during their 90-day cease-fire in a tariff fight that threatens to chill global economic growth.

That uncertainty dampened Asian investor sentiment.

Washington added that 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 US".

President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping have given their officials until March 1 to reach an accord on "structural changes" to China's economy on issues such as the forced transfer of American technology, intellectual-property rights, and non-tariff barriers.

The extra day of talks came amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of US farm and energy commodities and increased access to China's markets.

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Trump hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

Chinese leaders see them as a path to prosperity and global influence and are reluctant to abandon them.

USA officials have long complained that China has failed to live up to trade promises, often citing pledges to resume imports of American beef that took more than a decade to implement.

"The risk of talks breaking down remains significant", they wrote.

"We're hopeful that we can make a deal with China", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox Business Network on Wednesday. She said Wednesday the timing was unclear but the two sides are moving toward "more balanced and reciprocal" trade.

Officials discussed the need for any deal to include "ongoing verification and effective enforcement", USTR said. That reflects American frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments.

For its part, Beijing is unhappy with USA export curbs on "dual use" technology with possible military applications.

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A Chinese government source told the South China Morning Post on Thursday that China would be willing to agree to some of the USA demands because they were "feasible" and in line with Beijing's own interests.

Trump is locked in a stalemate with congressional Democrats over his demand for $5.7 billion in partial funding to build a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border.

That enthusiasm was wearing thin Thursday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 26,394.06, while the Shanghai Composite index was flat at 2,545.05.

At stake are scheduled U.S. tariff increase on $200 billion in Chinese imports. Forecasters expect American orders to slump this year.

Major U.S. stock indexes also quickly recovered from brief losses after Powell said that the Fed's balance sheet would be "substantially smaller".

USA companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies.

For its part, Beijing is unhappy with USA export and investment curbs, such as controls on "dual use" technology with possible military applications.

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"If that turns out to be the case, I think some sort of agreement is very likely", he said.