US, China hold crucial talks to ease bitter trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs for Camp David from the White House in Washington

Trump's trade negotiators finally get started with Beijing as 90-day clock ticks

USA officials are meeting with their counterparts in Beijing this week for the first face-to-face talks since Trump and China's President Xi Jinping in December agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global markets.

Ross's remarks emphasized President Donald Trump's confidence that the robust U.S. economy means Washington can outlast Beijing in a test of wills over trade.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the conduct of the USA ship had violated China's and worldwide law, and that China had sent military ships and aircraft to identify and warn off the ship.

Asked about the timing of the operation during trade talks, Lu said resolving issues would benefit the two countries and the world.

Talks in Switzerland would follow a meeting due to start in Beijing on Monday between USA and Chinese officials, the first formal gathering between the two sides since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day tariff truce in December, following a widely-anticipated dinner at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires.

A US guided-missile destroyer on Monday sailed within 12 nautical miles of disputed islands in the South China Sea "to challenge excessive maritime claims", a Pacific Fleet spokeswoman told Reuters.

Deputy US trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish is leading the US delegation at the two-day talks with Chinese vice-ministerial counterparts.

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"I really believe they want to make a deal". The preliminary skirmishes have already done damage to China's economy and some sectors of the USA economy as well as its financial markets and have had flow-on effects in the greater Asian region and even Europe.

The US has downplayed the damage the conflict is doing to its own industries as the impact of its tariffs feeds into higher costs for business and consumers and reduced demand from China for US products.

Last year, US President Donald Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 % on $250 billion of Chinese goods.

The trade clash reflects American anxiety about China's rise as a potential competitor in telecommunications and other technology.

The White House said in December the two sides would negotiate "structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft".

The outcome of the talks, apart from its implication for a wider regional economy, including Australia's, that is acutely sensitive to China's economic health, is critical for the outlook for the global economy and global financial markets. American officials worry those might erode US industrial leadership. They complain China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged. Apple's stock fell almost 10 percent after the announcement. -Chinese relations. They say Beijing's goal probably is to show enough progress to persuade Trump to extend his deadline.

United States negotiators on Monday headed into talks with Chinese counterparts as the two countries seek a deal to end a trade war that has raised fears of global economic turmoil.

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