The US and China have failed to reach a concrete consensus on their future trade relationship after a summit in Washington, DC ended without any firm action plan in place.
The first China-US Comprehensive Economic Dialogue came to a close without any joint statement being published and no new announcements on US market access to China, while press conferences that had been planned to mark the end of the talks were cancelled.
President Donald Trump has been critical of the current state of the US-China trade relationship, which is characterized by a trade surplus on China's part. The Republican leader believes this state of affairs is damaging to US businesses, and sees it as a consequence of Chinese government interference, rather than market forces.
A senior US official told Reuters that negotiators were unable to reach agreement on key priority areas, including US demands for access to China's financial services markets, a reduction in excess Chinese steel capacity and auto tariffs, cuts to subsidies for state-owned enterprises, an end to Chinese requirements for data localization and lifting ownership caps for foreign firms in China.
Meanwhile, China is looking for the US to scrap existing regulations on export control and increase the exports of high-tech products to China.
Nevertheless, the nations were able to come to a consensus that the current trade deficit ought to be addressed, and that this would be achieved through bilateral cooperation.
China's vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said: "Both sides agreed that one of the solutions to address the trade imbalance is for the US to expand its exports to China, instead of reducing imports from China."
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Washington also put a positive spin on the progress made during the talks, saying: "The two sides will expand areas of cooperation in services and increase trade in services, expand mutual investment, and create a more open, equitable, transparent and convenient investment environment."