US team reaches China to engage in trade deal talks
US negotiators were in Beijing today for another round of talks on a trade deal with the clock ticking towards a March 1 deadline set by US President Donald Trump. Preliminary discussions by lower-level officials were to be held before US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin step in for the main event on Thursday and Friday. Details here.
US' plans to increase tariffs to 25% suspended for now
Washington suspended plans in December to increase tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese imports to 25% from current 10% to give negotiators space to resolve a trade spat that has triggered fears of a global economic slowdown. A previous round of talks in Washington ended without a deal last month. Deputy trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish would lead the US delegation in today's preparatory meetings.
Talks will include officials from agriculture, energy, and commerce department
The White House confirmed that Gerrish would lead the US delegation in preparatory meetings to begin today. The talks will also include officials from the agriculture, energy and commerce departments. Gerrish left his hotel in downtown Beijing this morning without talking to the media. Mnuchin and Lighthizer will be joined by David Malpass, Trump's nominee for president of the World Bank.
Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Premier Liu He
The Chinese delegation will be led by Vice Premier Liu He, who will be joined by central bank governor Yi Gang. Liu, China's chief trade negotiator, met last month with Trump, who announced that a final resolution of the trade dispute would depend on a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping "in the near future" and that he wouldn't meet Xi before March 1.
Earlier, Trump had said he'll not meet Xi before March-1
Trump on Thursday said that he did not expect to meet his Chinese counterpart before the trade truce expires on March 1. The Trump administration is demanding far-reaching changes from China to address commercial practices that it says are deeply unfair, including theft of American intellectual property and myriad barriers that US and other foreign companies face in the Chinese domestic market.
Trade talks: China's stock market receives mixed response from investors
Ahead of the trade talks, China's stock market faced a mixed response today from investors. Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.36% to close at 2,653.90 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed about 0.6% in the final hour of the trade. Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi recovered from earlier loss by gaining 0.17% at 2,180.73. The banking groups of Australia and New Zealand declined by 1.3%.