China and US to Hold Trade Talks in Beijing Next Week

January 4, 2019 Updated: January 4, 2019

BEIJING—China and the United States will hold vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, with the two countries under pressure to end a trade war.

For much of the past year, the trade war has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods and stoked fears of a global economic slowdown.

A team led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will come to China to have “positive and constructive discussions” with Chinese counterparts, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

In a separate statement on Friday, USTR said the delegation will also include Under Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from those agencies and the White House.

Neither statement provided more details about the talks, but in an interview with Fox News Business Network, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said the discussions will examine “the whole story,” including commodities, agriculture and industrial capital goods.

Pressure to strike a deal mounted this week after data showed slowing U.S. and Chinese manufacturing activity and as companies like Apple Inc and Cargill Inc said the trade battle was hitting earnings.

At a summit in Argentina late last year, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on additional tariffs for 90 days while they attempted to negotiate a deal.

Now China and the United States face a March deadline for talks to end the damaging trade war, or Washington could proceed with a sharp hike in U.S. tariffs and Beijing could retaliate.

Trump has said talks are progressing well, but it remained unclear if Beijing will yield to U.S. demands for more open markets, forced technology transfer and industrial subsidies. Meeting some of those demands would require difficult structural reform.

“We know what sort of changes we need. Now, the question is can we negotiate these changes and can we do so with enforcement (and) with timetables,” Kudlow said on Friday.

USTR said the delegation will include USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, and Treasury’s Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass.

By Michael Martina