Pace of Reform Will Not Slow, President Xi Says

Trump, Xi declare progress on U.S.-China trade talks

The market began to decline as a result of global economic slowdown and following Trump's unpredictable worldwide stances which has led to unease over a series of trade wars, particularly with China.

ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Whilst President Trump has lauded "big progress" in trade talks with China following a phone call with Xi during the weekend, it remains to be seen how much this can boost investor confidence given that market reaction on recent positive development has largely been muted", Mizuho Bank said in a markets commentary. Mr Trump said that he and Mr Xi spoke at length, and that "big progress" is being made towards a deal.

Mr Trump did not offer more detail on what specific progress was being made.

Consensus on these issues is hard to reach and of great value, Xinhua added.

Washington and Beijing imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than US$300 billion worth of goods in total two-way trade previous year, locking them in a conflict that has begun to eat into profits and contributed to stock market plunges.

THE presidents of China and the U.S. have exchanged messages vowing to boost cooperation despite a bruising trade war on the 40th anniversary of the countries' diplomatic relations, Chinese state media reported.

Also in Argentina, the United States and China reached a 90-day agreement to postpone more tariff hikes and allow for further negotiations, after Xi agreed to purchase "a very substantial amount" of American goods, including in the agricultural, energy, and industrial sectors, to reduce the US trade deficit with China.

In comments broadcast live by all state media, Xi said China launched more than 100 major reform measures in 2018 and unveiled a comprehensive and systematic overhaul of both party and state institutions.

Relations between the world's top two economies are "now in a vital stage", Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

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China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral relations and appreciates the willingness of the United States side to develop cooperative and constructive bilateral relations, he said.

Mr Trump campaigned for president on a pledge to make trade fairer for the USA, and repeatedly blamed China's trading practices for making American manufacturers less competitive.

But Trump's escalating trade wars and tariff threats soon took over as the main focus of investor concern.

In his review of China's economic achievements in 2018, Xi said that, despite all sorts of risks and challenges, the country has pushed its economy towards high-quality development, sped up the replacement of the old drivers of growth, and kept major economic indicators within a reasonable range. It said the structural reforms include ending China's unfair trade policies and practices with respect to "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions, and cyber theft, services, and agriculture".

China's foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday that Beijing is willing to work with the United States through "storms" in their relationship toward the goal of global stability.

"The Chinese and United States economic and trade teams have always maintained close communication", commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular briefing.

A US delegation of trade officials is expected to travel to Beijing in early January for negotiations with the Chinese.

These would be the first face-to-face talks since the truce was agreed by both nation's leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires.

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