Round One of U.S.-China Talks Ends in Draw
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Two days of trade discussions ended in Beijing with the U.S. and China agreeing to disagree.
The scale of the negotiating task ahead was laid bare by a lengthy list of U.S. demands on China, including one to cut $200 billion off the trade deficit by 2020 compared to 2018 levels.
A document entitled “Balancing the Trade Relationship” seen by Bloomberg News also called for measures ranging from ceasing cyber hacking and lowering import tariffs to China dropping its claim to be a market economy, with many more in between.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that both sides reached a consensus on some issues, without providing details. But they also acknowledged major disagreements on other matters and will continue to work toward making more progress. Earlier, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said both sides had been having a “very good conversation” — without elaborating.
In an indication of the mood, neither side flagged plans to give a press briefing, and the American team was scheduled to depart this evening. From here it will be key to see if the talks can move forward, or if either says that they’ve hit a wall.
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