China pledges to buy 'substantial amount' of U.S. goods: USTR

Oil rises one per cent on US, China trade talk optimism

Investors also weighed conflicting signals on retail sales and U.S.

The results of the talks are expected be analysed at a separate meeting between U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He after which the two sides were expected to announce a decision.

Lighthizer's stance was clearly evident in the USTR press release, which emphasized both structural issues and the need for "complete implementation subject to ongoing verification and effective enforcement" of any eventual agreement.

Notably, in Thursday's press conference in Beijing, Gao avoided verifying some of the specifics of the USTR press release, including the promise for China to purchase increased amounts of US goods as well as the specific list of issues covered. At the heart of U.S. concerns is the "Made in China 2025" industrial policy, a strategy Beijing hopes will allow it to supersede United States technology supremacy, which it has since played down without indicating it will fully abandon the plan.

It softened its stand by offering a mix of concessions by resuming purchases of United States soybeans, suspended punitive tariffs on imports of U.S. cars and toned down its "Made in China 2025" plan, which aimed at breaking the country's reliance on foreign technology and pull its hi-tech industries up to western levels.

Stocks cinched their fourth consecutive gain Wednesday as indexes around the world build on their early 2019 rally. Macy's went public in February 1992 and reached an all-time high of nearly $73 a share in mid-2015, but four of the five biggest one-day plunges in its history have come in the last three years.

In Europe, Germany's DAX dipped 0.1 percent to 10,881 while France's CAC 40 was 0.5 percent lower at 4,789.

USA stock-index futures climbed during the Asia trading day with March contracts on the S&P 500 Index gaining as much as 0.5%. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 125 points, or 0.5 percent, to 23,753. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4 percent to 2,535.10.

Both sides agreed to maintain close contact, the Chinese commerce ministry said.

Chipmakers rose and other technology stocks edged higher, while high-dividend stocks like utilities and household goods companies made strong gains.

Washington said the talks focused on China's promise to buy more American exports but also emphasized USA pressure for action on Beijing's technology policy, market access and cyber spying. In other words, the onus is on China to demonstrate that it will meet USA demands, with the threat of additional penalties in the background.

Big spending on commodities and goods would send a positive signal on China's intent to work with the United States, but would do nothing to resolve the USA demands that require hard structural change from China.

-China Business Council. "That is very positive".

The USTR statement emphasised American insistence on "structural changes" in Chinese technology policy, market access, protection of foreign patents and copyrights and cyber theft of trade secrets. Economists say the 90-day window is too short to resolve all the conflicts between the biggest and second-biggest global economies. "Their economy's not doing well", Trump told reporters at the White House before boarding the Marine One presidential helicopter. But just days later, President Donald Trump overruled Mnuchin by announcing plans for 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Brent and the world's other key contract, WTI, slumped late past year, hitting 18-month low points at $49.93 and $42.36 per barrel respectively.

The group also urged the removal of USA tariffs when China delivers on its promises.

As the trade talks wound down, China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, met with CEO Elon Musk of electric auto brand Tesla Inc. That throws into doubt the possibility of a trade agreement based largely on Chinese promises to raise US imports. But downbeat factory output data in recent months suggests the trade war with the United States has taken a toll on economic growth while the impact of higher infrastructure spending has yet to be felt.

China is the largest electric vehicle market and is strongly encouraging its development.

OPEC - a cartel of producer countries that has long manipulated output of the commodity, to influence global prices in members' favour - and non-OPEC members, notably Russian Federation, in December agreed to trim production by 1.2 million barrels a day from the start of this year to shore up sagging prices. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

US and Chinese officials wrapped trade talks in Beijing without a significant breakthrough.

USA companies want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. Those include subsidies and other favors for high-tech and state-owned industry, rules on technology licensing and preferential treatment of domestic suppliers in government procurement. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. Both sides positively assessed negotiation results and left open the possibility of holding further talks. -China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China.

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