Talks lay foundation for future trade deal, says China

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet after the G20 in Buenos Aires

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The talks that started Monday were the first face-to-face meetings since Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed on December 1 to suspend further action against each other's imports for 90 days while they negotiate over US complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, announced that the talks had ended.

Further, negotiators had serious discussions over China's approach to intellectual property protection and its practice of so-called forced technology transfer.

"We can confidently say that enough progress was made that the discussions will continue at a higher level", said Craig Allen, president of the U.S. He did not elaborate. The Asian markets reached almost one-month highs on speculation that the world's two largest economies were hammering out a deal, Schmitz said. "And to do that properly would require significant changes in how China manages its economy - changes that would put the Chinese government and its state-owned enterprises in a vulnerable position".

The truce came after both sides imposed several rounds of tariffs in 2018.

China said talks with the U.S. "laid the foundations" to resolve a damaging trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

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But the statement did not say if the two sides have reached any agreement during the talks that concluded on Wednesday.

With seven weeks to go until a deadline that could see the USA ramp up tariffs on Chinese goods once again, the economic damage wrought by the months-long trade war is becoming clearer even as a pathway to a lasting resolution remains muddied.

At stake are scheduled U.S. tariff increase on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The potential of movement on China-U.S. trade means a moderation of extreme bearishness around the outlook for global growth", Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in an interview.

As the Trump administration continues trade negotiations with China, the US delegation is taking additional steps to make sure the Communist country follows through on its pledges.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that China's economy was more vulnerable to the fallout from the trade war.

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Since the Trump-Xi meeting in Argentina, China resumed purchases of USA soybeans. "But what's going to be hard for the Chinese side is to level the playing field for USA companies inside of China". He added: "It's been a good one for us".

That pledge, addressing a trade deficit in goods, was however mentioned only at the end of the statement which focused on the U.S. demands for structural changes to China's domestic policies.

"Listen, I think in the end markets are not really going to care very much about the details of any deal that's struck as long as a deal is struck and directionally looks like we are going toward deescalation rather than escalation", said Jimmy Pethokoukis, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

China has said it will not give up ground on issues that it perceives as core. Structural issues and concerns about barriers to investment in China are seen as some of the biggest obstacles to the deal.

The US statement said negotiations dealt with the need for "ongoing verification and effective enforcement". "We believe the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the United States", CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter to investors.

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