China, US to hold trade talks in October: China commerce ministry

China, US to hold trade talks in October: China commerce ministry

U.S and China trade talks in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Chinese staffers adjust U.S. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

BEIJING: China and the United States agreed to hold trade talks in early October in Washington, China's commerce ministry said on Thursday (Sep 5).

The talks, which were originally supposed to take place this month, come after new two-way tariffs were imposed on Sep 1.

The announcement followed a call earlier in the day between China's Vice Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website. China's central bank governor Yi Gang also attended the call.

Before the October talks, trade teams from the two countries will hold consultations in mid-September, the ministry said, adding that both sides agreed to take actual actions to create favourable conditions.

The top officials last met in Shanghai in July for a round of trade talks, which were described as "constructive" but ended with no announcements.

US President Donald Trump announced afterwards he would increase tariffs on more than half-a-trillion dollars worth of imports in a new round of punitive measures, prompting Beijing to respond with fresh tariffs on US goods worth US$75 billion.

This week, China said it had lodged a complaint against the US with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), one day after new tariffs imposed by Washington came into force.

NEW TENSIONS

Tensions continued to mount over the summer, with Trump accusing Chinese negotiators of holding out for a better deal in hopes he will be voted out in next year's presidential elections.

But at the recent G7 meeting of rich democracies in France, Trump spoke of new communications between US and Chinese negotiators - giving financial markets a brief boost - while China's foreign ministry said it was unaware of such contacts.

This week China said it had lodged a complaint against the US with the World Trade Organization (WTO), one day after new tariffs came into force.

While the US-China negotiations began in earnest in January and seemed at first to make progress, they were abruptly called off in the spring by Trump.

They resumed in June at the highest levels in the margins of the G20 summit meeting in Osaka, Japan, when Trump met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

But in its complaint to the WTO, Beijing accused the new US tariffs of "seriously violating the consensus reached by the leaders of our two countries in Osaka".

The new round of talks will be seen as a sign of optimism in a trade war that has weighed on the global economy and shaken diplomatic relations between the two global powers.

Source: Reuters/AFP/nr

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