U.S.-China Trade Talks Continue

Trade talks between Beijing and Washington were extended until Wednesday, a spokesperson for the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said.

The face-to-face meeting between American and Chinese negotiators is a clear sign that the talks are going in the right direction, CNN writes. This is the first such meeting since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart agreed last month to restart trade talks.

China’s Commerce Ministry said that the U.S.’ delegation visit to Beijing would only last for two days, while the United States didn’t specify how long the meeting would last, noting only that the negotiations were “beginning Monday.”

According to a source with knowledge of the talks, the negotiators needed more time to discuss issues on the agenda.

China said Tuesday that it would approve the imports of five new varieties of genetically modified crops, a long-awaited decision which would allow U.S. farmers to export more biotech seeds to China.

“The approval of the seeds is a big deal. It allows the seed companies, farmers and traders greater transparency,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council. “Hopefully, this also implies that in the future, there will be a more predictable process.”

Another source familiar with the matter said the talks were “constructive” and some progress was made on Chinese purchases, adding, however, that tougher issues, such as forced technology transfers, were not dealt with.

“It seems there have been no fist fights internally between the two delegations. No flight changes have been changed. No hotel stays have been extended,” said the person, who also noted that the more serious issues would likely be addressed in the later stages of the negotiations.

A third source said China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, was expected to visit Washington sometime later this month.

President Trump confirmed Tuesday that trade talks between the two countries were going well. Both he and China’s Xi Jinping have sent encouraging signals lately of wanting to broker a deal, although it remains unclear what exactly has been agreed upon and whether Beijing will meet demands made by Washington.

The U.S. delegation to Beijing is led by Jeff Gerrish, deputy to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and also includes David Malpass, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs as well as several other negotiators.

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