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New round of trade talks between U.S. and China end with no word on progress

WATCH: Trump warns China not to wait until 2020 for trade deal

U.S. and Chinese envoys met Wednesday for talks aimed at ending a tariff war after President Donald Trump rattled financial markets by accusing Beijing of trying to stall in hopes he will fail to win re-election in 2020.

The meeting ended about 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Neither delegation spoke to reporters before U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left for the airport.

READ MORE: China accuses U.S. of having ‘extravagant expectations’ for potential trade deal

Economists had said quick breakthroughs were unlikely because the two governments face the same disagreements over China’s technology policy and trade surplus that caused talks to break down in May. Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume negotiations but neither has given any sign of offering big concessions.

The dispute over U.S. complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology has battered exporters on both sides and disrupted trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment. Trump has raised tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports while Beijing responded by taxing $110 billion of U.S. products.

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WATCH: China will sign trade deal ‘almost immediately’ after election: Trump

China will sign trade deal ‘almost immediately’ after election: Trump
China will sign trade deal ‘almost immediately’ after election: Trump

Chinese leaders are resisting U.S. pressure to roll back plans for government-led development of industry leaders in robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies. Washington complains those efforts depend on stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology.

For their part, American negotiators are reluctant to cede to Chinese demands that punitive U.S. tariffs be lifted immediately. Trump wants to keep some penalties in place to ensure Beijing carries out any agreement.

Rhetoric on both sides has hardened, prompting suggestions U.S. and Chinese leaders are settling in for a “war of attrition.”

READ MORE: Liberals reject bid to study reports of pressure on former diplomats over China

In Washington, Trump accused Beijing of wanting to stall through the 2020 presidential election in hopes of being able to negotiate with a more malleable Democrat. He said that if reelected, he would get “much tougher” with Beijing.

“China would love to wait and just hope,” Trump told reporters Tuesday.

“They’ll pray that Trump loses,” he said. “And then they’ll make a deal with a stiff, somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing.”

Separately on Twitter, Trump warned that if he wins in 2020, “the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now … or no deal at all.”

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WATCH: Trudeau stresses U.S. has defended Canadians detained in China amid reports trade talks to resume

Trudeau stresses U.S. has defended Canadians detained in China amid reports trade talks to resume
Trudeau stresses U.S. has defended Canadians detained in China amid reports trade talks to resume

Asian stock markets tumbled Wednesday after Trump’s comments. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.7%, Hong Kong’s market benchmark dropped 1.3 per cent and Tokyo lost 0.9 per cent.

Trump’s “aggressively tinged” remarks were a “stark reminder to investors that the U.S. and China are no closer to an agreement and, in fact, might be drifting farther apart,” said Stephen Innes of VM Markets in a report.

READ MORE: China’s economic growth cools further amid ongoing tariff war with U.S.

Negotiators in Shanghai are also expected to discuss the fate of telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Ltd. Washington put the company, China’s first global tech brand, on a security list in May that blocks purchases of U.S. components and technology.

The United States says Huawei is a national security threat, an accusation the company denies. Trump has said it could be a bargaining chip in the trade dispute.