US, China to resume ‘candid’ trade talks


WASHINGTON: US and Chinese trade negotiators will reconvene in Washington next week following “candid” and “constructive” talks in Beijing, but it may take time for the economic superpowers to settle a bruising tariffs battle.

The officials are working to find a binding agreement to address President Donald Trump’s complaints about the years of unfair treatment of US companies by China, that would allow them to roll back the tariffs hitting businesses in both countries.

“The two parties continued to make progress during candid and constructive discussions on the negotiations and important next steps,” the White House said in a statement Friday.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the latest round of trade discussions yielded “new progress,” without elaborating.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will resume negotiations with China’s Vice Premier Liu He.

Mnuchin wrote on Twitter that he and Lighthizer “concluded constructive trade talks in Beijing” but he did not provide more details.

“I look forward to welcoming China’s Vice Premier Liu He to continue these important discussions in Washington next week,” he said.

The two negotiating teams, including China’s central bank chief Yi Gang, posed for pictures in front of Chinese and American flags at the conclusion of the latest round of talks, but they did not make statements to the media.

Officials are seeking to iron out major differences over US accusations that China has been using unfair trade practices for years by heavily subsidising its companies while snatching the technological know-how of American firms.

Trump has said the two sides were close to a deal, repeatedly saying the talks are going “very well,” but officials have played down expectations of an imminent agreement.

In Washington, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday the talks were not “time-dependent” and could last weeks or even months if necessary.

The talks are “policy and enforcement dependent”, Kudlow said.

The Chinese commerce ministry said a “large amount of work” remains to be done.

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