Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Markets slip as US-China trade negotiations end

POSITIVE OUTLOOK:The Office of the US Trade Representative said that the talks focused on a Chinese promise to buy substantial amounts of products and services

AP, BEIJING

Uncertainty over the outcome of US-China trade talks cast a pall over Asian markets yesterday as both sides were silent over what might lie ahead.

Most Asian markets opened lower after the talks wrapped up the day before without clear indications of whether progress was made on resolving a dispute over Chinese technology policies that has the world’s two biggest economies embroiled in a trade dispute.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a statement saying the two sides had “detailed exchanges” and would “maintain close contact,” but gave no details.

A statement from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) did not characterize the tone of the talks or say what would happen next.

It said US negotiators would await “guidance on the next steps” after reporting back to Washington.

So far, the US side has described the exchanges in a positive light.

The US statement said that the negotiations dealt with the need for any agreement with China to be “subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement.”

The USTR also said the negotiations “focused on China’s pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States.”

US stocks surged on Wednesday on optimism that the mid-level talks in Beijing would be followed up with discussions between higher-ranking US and Chinese officials.

Investors were encouraged that talks planned for two days were extended to three.

However, the enthusiasm was wearing thin yesterday, when Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent, while Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.4 percent and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo dropped 1.3 percent.

Washington wants Beijing to change its plans to use government support to make Chinese companies world leaders in robotics and advanced technologies.

Chinese officials have suggested that Beijing might alter its industrial plans, but reject pressure to abandon what they consider a path to prosperity and global influence.

Neither side has given any indication that its basic position has changed.

Chinese exports to the US have held up, despite tariff increases of up to 25 percent on US$250 billion of Chinese imports, partly due to exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit.

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