China, U.S. open trade talks as Beijing says exports rebound

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The US and China have been locked in a trade war since last summer, when Mr Trump, 72, imposed import tariffs on Chinese goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars, prompting China to respond in kind.

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He met US counterparts, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in the Chinese capital on Thursday and Friday.

Trump's comments echoed those of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who earlier told reporters in Beijing: "So far, so good", when asked about the progress of talks.

In closed-door sessions, the sides have failed to narrow the gap around structural reforms to China's economy that the USA has requested, even as both seek to avoid an increase in tariffs after March 1, according to three US and Chinese officials who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

The source added that the Chinese delegation may leave Beijing on Tuesday.

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Talks between U.S. and Chinese representatives in Beijing are believed to be progressing well as the two countries try to hammer out a last minute deal to end the tit-for-tat tariff battle.

Both sides have an incentive to strike a deal: Trump has repeatedly linked market gains to his administration's policies, while Bloomberg Economics estimates China would avoid a 0.3 percent drag on 2019 gross domestic product if the trade truce holds.

The price of copper declined for a fifth day in a row on Thursday despite trade data showing Chinese imports of the orange metal growing at a record-setting pace.

Mr Trump has indicated he is flexible to the March 1 deadline, suggesting he would let the date "slide for a little while" if a deal was in sight but would prefer not to do so.

Trump has said he did not expect to meet with Xi prior to March 1. "But Sino-US relations are all about the two leaders, and it will ultimately be up to Xi and Trump to come to a deal - or not", he wrote Wednesday in a newsletter.

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A round of talks at the end of January ended with some progress reported but no deal and United States declarations that much more work was needed. China's trade surplus with the United States narrowed to US$27.3 billion in January, from US$29.87 billion in December.

But multiple reports indicated little progress was made in the Chinese capital on thorny issues such as U.S. demands that Beijing stop requiring forced technology transfers by foreign firms as a condition of doing business in its market, and reduce subsidies that favour domestic companies.

Mrs Sanders said: "We'll see what happens on whether or not the president makes a move to change the deadline".

"China will continue resisting USA demands in certain areas, such as changes to its industrial strategy and the role of the state in its economy", said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist who was head of the China division at the International Monetary Fund.

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