China, US to Hold Trade Talks As Tariff Escalation Continue
BEIJING — China announced that its trade officials will travel to Washington early next month for talks with U.S. counterparts, potentially restarting stalled negotiations after weeks of uncertainty and escalation.
Vice Premier Liu He agreed to the visit in a telephone call on Thursday morning Beijing time with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to a statement from China’s commerce ministry. Lower-level officials will have “serious” discussions this month to prepare for the talks, which had originally been expected to take place in September.
A statement from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office confirmed that ministerial level discussions will take place in “the coming weeks,” without specifying when.
The prospect of talks may raise hope of some progress in the more than yearlong trade conflict, though clear differences between the two sides on the substantive issues remain. Both sides raised tariffs on Sept. 1 in the latest round of retaliation, the U.S. plans to add more tariffs on Oct. 1, and then both nations will increase them again on Dec. 15 unless there is a breakthrough.
S&P 500 Index futures climbed on the news, gaining 0.7%. The offshore yuan advanced, while havens such as the yen and gold declined.
Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang and Ning Jizhe, the deputy head of the economic planning commission, were also on the call, the Commerce Ministry statement said.
Officials have struggled to agree on when to hold talks and what to discuss since their last meeting in Shanghai in July. While President Donald Trump’s administration ratchets up the tariff pressure, China is having to add stimulus to support its slowing economy. On Wednesday, the State Council signaled that a reduction in the amount of funds banks have to hold in reserve is on the way
“No one is holding their breath,’’ said Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte. in Singapore. “Investors are slowly coming to terms that a trade deal is increasingly remote, with both sides talking tough and preparing for a long battle.’’
©2019 Bloomberg News
Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
WASHINGTON — The “Phase One” trade deal with China, once completed, will be signed somewhere in the U.S., President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday at the White House. Trump had previously suggested Iowa, the largest U.S. corn and hog producing state, as a natural setting... Read More
WASHINGTON - The World Trade Organization said Friday that China can place new trade sanctions on $3.5 billion of U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. restrictions on Chinese furniture, steel products and solar panels. The award by an arbitration panel with the Geneva-based organization is the... Read More
WASHINGTON — When President Trump slapped 25% tariffs on foreign steel in March 2018, panicky U.S. buyers rushed to place new orders ahead of feared supply interruptions, driving prices up sharply. It was an instant bonanza for domestic steel producers. With much fanfare, some announced ambitious... Read More
WASHINGTON - The U.S. has come to a “very substantial phase one deal” with China, President Donald Trump said Friday. Though he offered scant details, the president declared that talks on a "phase two" trade deal "will start almost immediately.” Trump said the actual drafting of... Read More
WASHINGTON — One of the remaining obstacles to passing a new North American trade agreement could soon be cleared after Mexico promised top House Democrats that it would improve enforcement of new labor standards to protect workers’ rights in that country. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez... Read More
WASHINGTON — The White House is looking at rolling out a previously agreed currency pact with China as part of an early harvest deal that could also see a tariff increase next week suspended, according to people familiar with the discussions. The currency accord — which... Read More