China, US to Hold Trade Talks in October; Beijing Says Phone Call Went Well

By Reuters
September 5, 2019 Updated: September 5, 2019

BEIJING—China and the United States on Sept. 5 agreed to hold high-level trade talks in early October in Washington.

The talks were agreed to during a phone call between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website. China’s central bank Governor Yi Gang also was on the call.

“Both sides agreed that they should work together and take practical actions to create good conditions for consultations,” the ministry said.

“Lead negotiators from both sides had a really good phone call this morning,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly briefing. “We’ll strive to achieve substantial progress during the 13th Sino-U.S. high-level negotiations in early October.”

Gao also said Beijing opposes any escalation in the trade war.

Trade teams from the two countries will hold talks in mid-September before the high-level talks next month, the ministry said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office confirmed that Lighthizer and Mnuchin spoke with Liu and said they agreed to hold ministerial-level trade talks in Washington “in the coming weeks.”

News of the October talks lifted share markets in Asia and the United States on Sept. 5, raising hopes for a de-escalation of the U.S.-China trade war before it inflicts further damage on the global economy.

On Sept. 1, Washington began imposing 15 percent tariffs on an array of Chinese imports, while China began placing duties on U.S. crude oil. China said Sept. 2 it had lodged a complaint against the United States at the World Trade Organization.

The United States plans to increase the tariff rate to 30 percent, from the 25 percent duty already in place on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, from Oct. 1.

U.S. President Donald Trump had warned that he will be tougher on Beijing should he win a second term in office and if trade talks dragged on.

Chinese leaders will have a packed schedule next month, gearing up for celebrations scheduled for Oct. 1, the anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s takeover of China. They will also hold a key meeting in October to discuss policies, and “perfecting” the country’s socialist system, state media has said.

By Kevin Yao and Yawen Chen