Talks between China and the United States to resolve the ongoing trade war between the global economic giants ended Wednesday in an atmosphere of optimism.
Although neither side offered details of the meeting, one U.S. negotiator sounded a note of optimism to reporters after the talks broke up.
China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Tuesday, the first in about 18 months in a move that could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods.
The United States is the world's biggest producer of GM crops, while China is the top importer of GM soybeans and canola.
Ted McKinney, the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, said the negotiations "went just fine," and that they "had been a good one for us."
McKinney's sentiment echoed that of President Donald Trump, who tweeted early Tuesday that the talks "are going very well!"
Talks with China are going very well!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2019
The working-level talks opened Monday and were supposed to end the following day, but were extended an extra day, a sign that the two sides had made progress in resolving tariff disputes that have roiled world markets. Asian markets closed on a high note Wednesday on the expectation the two sides will reach an agreement.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday that he had a "long and very good call" with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that a possible trade deal between the United States and China was progressing well. The end of 2018 seemed to signal good things to come for America’s farmers.
As a partial shutdown of the U.S. government entered its eighth day, with no quick end in sight, the Republican president was in Washington, sending out tweets attacking Democrats and talking up possibly improved relations with China.
The end of 2018 seemed to signal good things to come for America’s farmers.
The trade talks are the result of an agreement last month between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to stop the tit-for-tat tariff conflict between the two countries for 90 days starting on New Year's Day.
The talks are occurring as China's economic growth rate — 6.5 percent in the July-to-September period — fell to its lowest point in a decade. There are concerns the U.S. growth rate, 3.4 percent in the third quarter, is also slowing even as the country's unemployment rate remains nearly at a five-decade low.
The United States has long complained about access to the vast Chinese market and Beijing's demands U.S. companies reveal their technology advances.
If no deal is reached by March 2, U.S. tariffs on $200 billion Chinese goods will rise from 10 percent to 25 percent.