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Trump officials say US-China trade talks to resume next week

Published: July 04, 2019 10:14:27 | Updated: July 04, 2019 17:11:12


US and Chinese flags are seen before Defense Secretary James Mattis welcomes Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US, November 9, 2018. Reuters/Files

Top representatives from the United States and China are arranging to resume talks next week to try to resolve a year-long trade war between the world’s two largest economies, Trump administration officials said on Wednesday.

“Those talks will continue in earnest this coming week,” White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters in a briefing.

An official from the Office of the US Trade Representative said later that the two sides were in the process of scheduling a principal-level phone call with Chinese officials for next week.

The principal negotiators on the US side are US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while China’s top negotiator is Vice Premier Liu He.

The two sides have already been in communication by phone since last weekend, when US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to relaunch talks that had stalled in May.

Kudlow was unclear about the timeline for relaunching face-to-face talks, saying that these would begin “soon” and that an announcement would be forthcoming.

“I don’t know precisely when. They’re on the phone. They’re going to be on the phone this coming week and they’ll be scheduling face-to-face meetings,” he said.

Talks between the two sides broke down in May after US officials accused China of pulling back from commitments it had made previously in the text of an agreement that negotiators said was nearly finished.

Washington accuses Beijing of allowing intellectual property theft and forcing US companies to share their technology with Chinese counterparts in order to do business in China. It wants China to change its laws on those and other issues. China denies such practices and is reluctant to make sweeping legal changes.

Both countries have levied tariffs on the other, but Trump made two major concessions at the meeting with Xi to get talks started again: he agreed not to put tariffs on some $300 billion in additional Chinese imports and to loosen restrictions on Chinese technology company Huawei.

The United States has 25 per cent tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods now ranging from semi-conductors to furniture.

“We’ve been accommodative. We will not lift tariffs during the talks,” Kudlow said. “We are hoping that China will toe its end of it by purchasing a good many of American imports.”

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