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7 Jan, 2019 09:52

US and China hold trade talks in Beijing amid three-month ‘truce’ in tariff war

US and China hold trade talks in Beijing amid three-month ‘truce’ in tariff war

With just about two months left before a deadline for a new trade deal, Washington and Beijing are launching two-day talks to end the intense tariff war raging between the nations as major US companies’ stocks plummet.

American and Chinese delegates face each other on Monday in Beijing, with both sides expressing optimism before the meeting. US President Donald Trump said that negotiations are going “very well,” echoing his previous statements that “big progress” was being made during the talks.

Officials in Beijing shared his opinion. The US negotiators will “optimistically and constructively communicate” with their counterparts, China’s Ministry of Commerce noted earlier this week. The Ministry’s spokesperson, Lu Kang later said China hopes to resolve the dispute on terms of mutual respect and on equal footing.

The countries have been locked in a trade conflict since Trump accused China of taking unfair advantage of the US economy. He slapped tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing promised to respond in kind.

In December, the sides agreed on a ‘truce,’ giving each other an extra opportunity to find a compromise deal. The US had postponed the enforcement of tariffs for 90 days, while China vowed to buy more American goods.

But relations took another dip soon after as Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, was detained in Canada under a warrant issued by Washington. She is being investigated for allegedly violating sanctions placed on Iran, and was eventually released on bail. However, her detention irritated China, which slammed the whole affair as unlawful.

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The US-Chinese quarrels have caused a sizable hit to bilateral trade as major US companies, from Intel and Apple to Ford and Tesla, saw their stocks plummet by the end on 2018. Apple CEO Tim Cook linked a significant drop in iPhone sales in China to “trade tensions” between the nations which “put additional pressure” on the Chinese economy.

Negotiations to end the trade war have been moving at a slow pace, considering that the deadline for the deal was set for March 1, 2019, historian and a professor at the University of Houston, Gerald Horne, told RT.

“There is no sufficient pressure to cause either side to be reasonable,” he noted, adding that “reasonable approaches” are unlikely to emerge before March.

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