China, U.S. Trade Talks Continue With Some Signs of Progress
Top negotiators from China and the U.S. talked again this weekend, after signs of concessions from both sides on some of the outstanding issues.
China’s Vice Premier Liu He, the country’s key negotiator in the trade talks with the U.S., spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer by phone on Saturday morning Beijing time, according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry. They had “constructive” discussions about each side’s core concerns in the phase-one deal, and agreed to stay in close communication, the statement said. The USTR confirmed the call took place.
Last week China removed curbs on poultry imports from the U.S. while the Trump administration is poised to again extend a license that will allow U.S. companies to continue doing business with Huawei Technologies Co., New York Times reported Saturday.
While President Donald Trump’s administration signaled talks with China over the first phase of a broad trade agreement are entering the final stages, that is no guarantee that there won’t be another breakdown in talks.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters late Thursday in Washington that “we are coming down to the short strokes” and are “in communication with them every single day.” Still, he acknowledged a deal was close though “not done yet.”
The last stages of trade agreements are often where talks break down, and Trump still hasn’t publicly indicated his approval. The two sides were close to a deal about six months ago, only for talks to collapse, with the U.S. claiming that China backed away from previous agreements.
The two sides have held working-level video conferences focused on issues ranging from the details and timeline of Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods to commitments to curtail theft of intellectual property that Trump is demanding from China, according to people familiar with the discussions.