Day 1 of US-China trade talks ends with hopes for limited deal

Top US and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a first day of trade talks in more than two months on Thursday as business groups expressed optimism the two sides might be able to ease a 15-month trade war and delay a U.S. tariff hike scheduled for next week.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin And U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer met with vice Premier Liu he and other senior Chinese officials for about seven hours at the Ustr’s headquarters near the white house.

 “We had a very, very good negotiation with China,” U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters after the talks concluded. He reiterated his plans to meet with Liu at the white house on Friday, regarded as a good sign.

A white house official said talks had gone very well, “probably better than expected.”

A smiling Liu waved to reporters before departing the USTR in a black Cadillac, without answering questions. The two sides were due to meet for a final day on Friday.

Negotiators could agree to low-level “early harvest” agreements on issues such as currencies and copyright protections, despite increased irritants between the world’s two largest economies, a U.S. chamber of commerce official briefed by both sides said earlier on Thursday.

Myron brilliant, the chamber’s head of international affairs, told reporters that negotiators were “trying to find a path toward the bigger deal” with progress on market access and less controversial intellectual property and other issues.

Trump launched the trade war against china with demands for sweeping structural reforms, but Beijing has indicated it is not willing to fundamentally change the way it controls china’s economy. Asked by reporters on Thursday whether he was prepared to accept a “smaller deal,” Trump did not answer and walked away.

Previously, the president said he did not want to have a more limited deal, preferring to hold out for one that was broad in scope.

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