US, China relaunch trade talks

US trade officials spoke with their Chinese counterparts Tuesday, but little has changed

Photo: Reuters Frictions between China and the US go now well beyond tariff disputes

Top US and Chinese trade officials relaunched trade talks as Washington and Beijing work to iron out a trade deal after a two-month hiatus. According to American media, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on the phone to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan “to continue negotiations aimed at resolving the outstanding trade disputes” between the world’s two largest economies.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning local time, China’s Ministry of Commerce confirmed that the call took place. Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate, ministry said, without offering more details on the next steps.

The call continues a fresh round of engagement between the US and China as they try to avoid widening a damaging trade war. Late last month, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan and agreed tp "cease fire" and not levy any new tariffs.

Yet,a year after the trade war began there is little sign their differences have narrowed. Those differences could still be overcome in negotiations, Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, told an event hosted by CNBC, adding, “It’s not impossible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” But as a Chinese official familiar with the situation told Reuters there is still “fairly large gap” in the core demands of both countries and it would be a challenge to reach consensus on the toughest issues.

Ad Europost reminds, talks between the two countries broke down in early May, after the United States accused China of backsliding on commitments it made related to changing various laws to satisfy the US demands. Now, the US stance on Hong Kong’s protests, arms sales to Taiwan, and Huawei Technologies Co.’s fate are also in play alongside trade and are not helping the resolving of the trade dispute.

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