China is keen to put an end to its trade dispute with the United States but will not make any "unreasonable concessions" and any agreement must involve compromise on both sides, the China Daily, a state newspaper, said on Wednesday.
The two countries have until March 1 before USA tariffs on some $200bn in Chinese goods are set to rise to 25% from 10%.
The talks "enhanced mutual understanding, and established a foundation for solving, each other's concerns", said the statement, stressing that both sides agreed to maintain close communication, while providing few other details. The meetings in Beijing this week were not at a ministerial level, so were not expected to produce a deal to end the trade war.
The American delegation was led by one of Lighthizer's deputies, Jeffrey D. Gerrish.
Officials say talks are expected to deliver specific commitments to expand market access for U.S. in China, improve protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and reduce the trade surplus with the USA, but it would take time to reform state-owned firms another major source of friction.
A statement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative didn't characterize the tone of the talks or say what would happen next. The statement added that talks also "focused on China's pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States".
Asian markets were mostly lower Thursday as USA and Chinese officials wrapped up three days of talks in Beijing without significant breakthroughs.
Washington is pressing Beijing for changes including rolling back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global champions in robotics and other fields.More news: New AI software tracks down users who share Netflix accounts and passwords
"It seems there have been no fist fights internally between the two delegations", a person familiar with the progress of the talks told CNN on Tuesday, describing them as "constructive".
The United States and China had been engaged in a trade war over the past year after United States President Donald Trump accused Beijing of indulging in unfair trade practices. President Donald Trump earlier expressed optimism in a tweet, exclaiming "Talks with China are going very well!".
Trade negotiations between US-China mid-level officials seem to have taken a favorable turn. "However, we do not see the USA fully removing the specter of tariff hikes any time soon".
The restrictions on cars and soybeans were imposed as part of China's retaliation against Trump's decision to place tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. The escalating trade war raised concerns in China as its economy was on the downward trend amid efforts by the government to rejig the export-dependent economy to that of relying more on domestic consumption. Buying had slumped after China imposed a 25% import duty on U.S. shipments of oilseed on July 6 in response to USA tariffs.
But on January 10, China's state-run media provided a hint that the regime could be ready to concede to US demands. "The view, once commonly heard in Beijing, that it could outlast America in a grinding tariff battle has given way to the realisation that, as the country with the huge trade surplus, China has more to lose upfront".
Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng gestures as journalists raise hands for questions during a press conference at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, April 6, 2018.