China, US to hold trade talks early October

China, US to hold trade talks early October

China, US to hold trade talks early October

China's state-run media say China and the United States will hold ministerial-level trade talks in Washington in early October.

The Chinese commerce ministry said lower-level officials will have "serious" discussions this month to prepare for the talks, which had originally been expected to take place in September.

The announcement followed a call earlier in the day between China's Vice Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website.

The countries agreed to "create good conditions for negotiation", China's Commerce Ministry said.

Both countries said they will continue talking ahead of that in-person meeting.

Officials have struggled to agree on when to hold talks and what to discuss since their last meeting in Shanghai in July.

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US President Donald Trump announced afterwards he would increase tariffs on more than half-a-trillion dollars' worth of imports in a new round of punitive measures, prompting Beijing to respond with fresh tariffs on US goods worth $75 billion.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened that China, which is reportedly willing to wait Trump out and deal with the next administration, would face "MUCH TOUGHER" penalties if it doesn't come to the table and make a deal before the 2020 election.

Some within the Trump administration are skeptical that China is willing to make the sort of broad commitment to reforms sought by the USA that caused a breakdown in talks in May, according to people familiar with the officials' thinking.

But in its complaint to the WTO, Beijing accused the new USA tariffs of "seriously violating the consensus reached by the leaders of our two countries in Osaka".

The prospect of talks may raise hope of some progress in the more than year-long trade conflict, though clear differences between the two sides on the substantive issues remain.

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