China and US bargain to the last

Peking (Agencies)-Talks aimed at averting a trade war between the United States and China will carry on right up to tomorrow morning's deadline when more than $2bn (£1.25bn) sanctions are due to take effect, according to US officials.

Washington says piracy of American patents, copyrights and trademarks in China costs American industry nearly $1bn a year.

Yesterday, eight American film companies went to court to sue two Peking stores for selling pirated laser disks of their movies.The Peking Intermediate People's Court heard 90 minutes of arguments, but did not make a ruling.

Meanwhile, yesterday Hazel O'Leary, the US Energy Secretary, announced 26 new joint ventures valued at more than $4bn. The latest agreements, added to eight signed in Shanghai on Monday, means that Ms O'Leary's 75-member business mission has signed private-sector deals worth more than $6bn in new energy projects with China, involving US investment of $4.6bn.