US Navy ship sails near disputed islands in South China Sea

US China hold crucial talks to ease trade war

US Navy ship sails near disputed islands in South China Sea

The key will be how seriously Beijing takes the arrival of the working team led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, who is set to meet mid-level Chinese officials in Beijing.

"I think the two sides need some kind of agreement for now", Tu said.

While the Federal Reserve Board chairman, Jerome Powell, may have calmed equity markets on Friday by saying the USA central bank would be patient and flexible in implementing United States monetary policy this year trade is the other big factor behind the implosion of equity markets in the closing months of last year.

Presidents Xi and Trump agreed a temporary truce at the end of previous year in a bid to draw a line under months of escalating hostilities. The...

"I think that gives them a great incentive to negotiate".

"Both sides are close to finding a solution to address the trade imbalance", the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the unnamed adviser as saying.

The American delegation in Beijing includes officials from the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy departments.

Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 per cent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

On Friday, Beijing cut bank reserve requirements amid slowing growth at home and pressure from the US tariffs.

US and Chinese officials have begun talks aimed at ending the trade war that has imposed hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs over the past year.

As part of the 90-day ceasefire, Washington postponed a planned increase of tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent now to 25 per cent. Beijing has compromised by suspending additional tariffs on United States cars and by buying USA soybeans.

Both sides have expressed interest in settling their tariff battle over Beijing's technology ambitions.

During that 90-day period, agreements "may not be reached until the last day", according to Tu Xinquan, director of the China Institute for World Trade Organization Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

China's leaders have tried to defuse complaints by emphasizing the country's potential as an export market.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent in the third quarter, and unemployment is at a five-decade low.

Beijing has tried in vain to recruit France, Germany, South Korea and other governments as allies against Trump.

For their part, Chinese officials are unhappy with USA curbs on exports of "dual use" technology with possible military applications.

"Adding to that, there are concerns over state-sponsored cybersecurity attacks and a slowdown in Chinese economic growth, which itself has roiled markets", Noguchi said.

So far demand for Australian commodities has held up (and will benefit from a fresh bout of stimulus-inspired infrastructure investment) but a full-scale trade war would have much more severe impacts on a global economy which is over-leveraged and already slowing and an Australian economy which (at the household level at least) is over-leveraged and also appears to be slowing.

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