China trade negotiator likely to visit US

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China has repeatedly played down complaints about intellectual property abuses, and has rejected accusations that foreign companies face forced technology transfers. The talks come after President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on more tariffs for 90 days, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina last month.

Brilliant has met with senior US trade officials over the course of the trade conflict, including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the lead negotiator of the current 90-day round of talks, which has set to conclude on March 1. He did not elaborate.

Trump has demanded better terms of trade with China, with the United States pressing Beijing to address issues that would require structural change such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and other non-tariff barriers.

"The Chinese have been saying that they don't have any policy around forced technology transfers, but we know at the local level things are being implemented differently", said Myron Brilliant, head of worldwide affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, referring to the practice of requiring foreign companies to share patented technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Following the talks, China's Ministry of Commerce said there were "detailed exchanges" and that both sides would "maintain close contact", without offering specifics.

Froman, who served as chief trade negotiator during the Obama administration, said that Beijing would more readily engage in a "shopping list" track of negotiations: officials would agree to buy an as-yet unspecified amount of USA goods and services. Buying had slumped after China imposed a 25 per cent import duty on USA shipments of the oilseed on Jul 6 in response to US tariffs.

Chinese exports to the United States 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. Mr Liu is expected to travel to Washington later this month for further talks. The USTR said the American delegation was returning to Washington to report on the meetings and "receive guidance on the next steps".

China has imposed penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for USA companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

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China has also cut tariffs on USA cars, dialed back on an industrial development plan known as "Made in China 2025" and told its state refiners to buy more US oil.

China has also cut tariffs on US cars, dialled back on an industrial development plan known as "Made in China 2025", and told its state refiners to buy more USA oil.

Earlier this week, China approved five genetically modified crops for import, the first in about 18 months, which could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease USA pressure to open its markets to more farm goods. US crude, which has jumped 15 percent in 2019, dropped 52 cents to $51.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. But it gave no indication of progress on resolving disputes over Beijing's technology ambitions and other thorny issues.

One of the biggest challenges to any deal would be to ensure that China enforces whatever is agreed to stop technology transfers, intellectual property theft and hacking of USA computer networks.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "While there was agreement on less thorny issues such as agriculture and energy, USA demands for verification and enforceable targets on intellectual property rights, transfer of technologies and non-tariff barriers may not be that easily addressed", DBS Group Research strategists Eugene Leow and Neel Gopalakrishnan said in a commentary.

The U.S. China Business Council, which represents American companies working in China, applauded the "substantive discussions" but urged both sides to make tangible progress on achieving equal treatment of foreign companies in China and changes to policies aimed at technology transfer.

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

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