The Latest: First day of US-China trade talks concludes

Steven Mnuchin
The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on China-U.S. trade talks in Beijing (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

U.S.-China trade talks have concluded for the day with no public statements from either side.

Talks resume with more meetings Friday before the U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin departs in the evening.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are also attending. The Chinese delegation is led by Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser.

On Thursday, the U.S. contingent had meetings with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad at the U.S. Embassy then went to a state guesthouse for meetings with the Chinese, followed by dinner.

Analysts say that chances for a breakthrough seem slim.

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5 p.m.

The Asian Development Bank’s chief says trade in Asia, growing at a fast clip since 2017, could be disrupted if disputes escalate.

Asked about trade friction between the U.S. and China, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said Thursday that so far mounting friction has not measurably hurt that activity. But the possibility disputes might escalate is a concern, since Asia’s strong growth is based on open trade and investment.

Nakao was speaking to reporters at the outset of the ADB’s annual meeting, being held in Manila, Philippines.

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12:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump has said on Twitter that he expects to maintain smooth relations with China.

“Our great financial team is in China trying to negotiate a level playing field on trade! I look forward to being with President Xi in the not too distant future. We will always have a good (great) relationship,” Trump said in a tweet.

Trump made the remark as the two sides prepared to hold talks in Beijing on resolving conflicts over trade and economic policies that have propelled the two countries toward a full-blown trade war.

The president has long complained of what he says are unfair Chinese policies contributing to a huge U.S. trade deficit.

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12:15 p.m.

U.S. officials say a delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has arrived in Beijing for talks on a festering dispute over trade and technology.

The mission including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is due to hold talks later Thursday and Friday with Chinese officials led by Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser.

In his complaints over the chronic U.S. trade deficit with China, President Donald Trump has zeroed in on a program under Xi known as “Made in China 2025” that aims to make China a tech superpower.

The plan mostly involves subsidizing Chinese firms. But foreign companies are unhappy over requirements that they share key details about their technology to Chinese partners.

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11:10 a.m.

Chinese and American officials will be trying to defuse tensions pushing the world’s two largest economies toward trade war in meetings in Beijing beginning Thursday. Analysts say that chances for a breakthrough seem slim given the two sides’ desperate rivalry in strategic technologies such as semiconductors.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading a delegation of U.S. officials. Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, is heading the Chinese side in the talks.

Despite the huge U.S. trade deficit, Chinese companies are struggling to overtake western industry leaders in advanced technologies for semiconductors, the silicon brains required to run smartphones, connected cars, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Analysts say Beijing is unlikely to cede any ground on policies meant to help close that gap.

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