Beijing: China and the US wrapped up three days of trade talks and are reportedly coordinating how to characterize the results publicly as officials from both nations expressed optimism that progress had been made.

People familiar with the discussions said positions were closer on areas including energy and agriculture but further apart on harder issues. As of 8:25 pm in Beijing, neither the Chinese side nor the Americans had released a statement -- a possible sign of message coordination as the US delegation returned to Washington.

Stocks rose across Asia and Europe, and equity futures indicated an increase in the US on Wednesday, on signs the world’s two largest economies are trying to resolve their trade war.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said a one-day extension in talks showed both sides are serious about the talks. Some disagreements remain on structural issues and they need to be addressed when more senior negotiators meet later on, according to Chinese officials involved in the discussions who asked not to be identified.

The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper known for its nationalist leanings, said on Twitter around 4 pm in Beijing that he’d heard the two sides were still consulting on the wording of coordinated statements.

China and the US plan to release a message on trade talks at the same time Thursday morning in Beijing, he said later in another tweet. The talks, though arduous, were conducted in a pleasant and candid atmosphere, he said.

Later this month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to meet with Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide who is leading negotiations for China, a person familiar with the situation said last week. Liu made a brief appearance at the talks in Beijing on Monday, boosting optimism that China was serious about making progress on a deal.

The mid-level talks were the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since their leaders met on 1 December. Prior to the meeting, China made a number of concessions to US demands including temporarily cutting punitive tariffs on US-made cars, resuming soybean purchases, promising to open up its markets for more foreign investment, and drafting a law to prevent forced technology transfers.

The negotiations were extended from the two days initially scheduled, according to the Chinese. President Donald Trump tweeted “Talks with China are going very well!" late on Tuesday in Beijing.

The US president is increasingly eager to strike a deal with China soon in an effort to perk up financial markets that have slumped on concerns over the trade war, according to people familiar with internal White House deliberations. The S&P 500 Index has fallen about 8% since Trump and Xi agreed on a 90-day truce at their meeting in Argentina last month.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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