As the talks began Monday at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Beijing complained about a USA warship in what it said were Chinese waters, but it was unclear whether that would disrupt the proceedings.
A statement released by China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday morning said both sides carried out "wide, deep and thorough exchanges" on trade and structural issues of mutual concern.
That throws into doubt the possibility of a trade agreement based largely on Chinese promises to raise USA imports.
In a brief statement on January 10, China's Ministry of Commerce said the two sides had reached an "important consensus", and will continue to have close contact.
USTR also said the two sides discussed issues related to intellectual property protections and the need for any agreement to include "complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement".
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The American delegation is led by a deputy USA trade representative, Jeffrey D. Gerrish, and includes agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "While there was agreement on less thorny issues such as agriculture and energy, U.S. 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.
Going by the media statements given by top Trump administration members, including undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs Ted McKinney, the United States was able to deliberate China into a pledge of buying substantial amount of American agricultural, energy and manufacturing products.
Asian markets were mostly lower Thursday as US and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of talks in Beijing without significant breakthroughs. "Without some progress already made, there would not be an extension to the negotiations", he told NPR.
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Trade negotiations between US-China mid-level officials seem to have taken a favorable turn. -China talks aimed at ending a costly tariff battle wrapped up Wednesday in an optimistic atmosphere after President Trump said they were "going very well!".
"The U.S. feels uncomfortable with China's rapid development, and can't adapt to its own declining influence", wrote Chen Yonglong in the state-run China Daily.
Chinese exports to the USA have held up despite tariff increases, partly due to exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit. The US goods trade deficit with China was United States dollars 375.6 billion in 2017.
"China is determined to bring the trade war to an end", The Economist has reported.
Liu's appearance at the talks is a "symbol of Xi's personal buy-in" in the effort to reach a deal, said Leland Miller, chief executive officer of China Beige Book, a data-analytics firm that surveys companies across the Chinese economy. The bank believes that the positives from the fiscal stimulus messages of previous year will subside, which, coupled with the trade war, will add pressure to the economy. USA officials have repeatedly accused China of not fulfilling agreements, with Ross saying on Monday that "the real issue is what are the enforcement mechanisms, what are the punishments if people don't do what they were supposed to do?"
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But it has been gradually reversing that stance over the past year, although the balance sheet still remains above $4 trillion. But some investors have anxious that that process could push long-term rates higher at a time when the economy was slowing.