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Chinese and U.S. Negotiators To Meet in Washington in October

Sept. 5, 2019 (EIRNS)—Following their first telephone discussion since Aug. 13, top Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators agreed to meet in Washington in early October and to create positive conditions for dialogue. Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone on Sept. 5, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. A separate announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said a deputy-level meeting would be held in mid-September to “lay the groundwork for meaningful progress.”

The call also involved Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang, and Ning Jizhe, the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission. This is the first time that the latter two have joined the talks, which now include representatives of all the top economic institutions of China.

Spokesman Gao Feng for China’s Commerce Ministry told reporters that the phone call went “very well.” He emphasized that China opposes an escalation in the trade war, and will try to make “real progress” when they visit U.S. in October. He also expressed the hope that the U.S. will stop taking “wrong actions” against Chinese companies (such as Huawei).

Global Times and some other Chinese media directed attention to the phrase “real progress,” which they said China had not previously used in these negotiations.

South China Morning Post reports that Taoran Notes, a social media account affiliated with the state-run newspaper Economic Daily, commented that officials from both countries may address each other’s core concerns in the coming days.

China has insisted that a trade deal should be equal and balanced, including removing tariffs and agreeing on reasonable quantities of Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural and other products, SCMP reported. “The upcoming trend, whether it will develop in a positive direction or repeat [previous tensions], will probably be decided by [the Americans’ actions],” it said.

Meantime, Vice Premier Liu met with Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and David Perdue (R-GA) on Sept. 3. President Donald Trump said that China had requested the meeting and he had approved it.

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