WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top U.S. and Chinese negotiators will meet face-to-face next week for the first time since the countries’ leaders agreed in June to revive talks aimed at ending a yearlong trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The United States and China have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat tariff battle, roiling global supply chains and upending financial markets, as Washington presses Beijing to address what it sees as decades of unfair and illegal trading practices.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a team of American officials in discussions in Shanghai on Tuesday, July 30, “aimed at improving the trade relationship between the United States and China,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will lead negotiations for China.
Global stocks held their gains on guarded optimism following the news of the first in-person meeting between the lead negotiating teams since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The countries had appeared headed toward a deal before talks abruptly fell apart in early May, leading to months of impasse.
Mnuchin earlier told CNBC on Wednesday he was hopeful progress could be made toward a deal and that more talks were likely to follow later in Washington.
“There’ll be a few more meetings before we get a deal done,” Mnuchin later told reporters at the White House. “I wouldn’t expect that we’ll resolve all the issues. But the fact that we’re back at the table at the direction of the two presidents is important.”
The United States still has a long list of big items to tackle as talks resume after being sidelined in May, he said.
The White House said “the discussions will cover a range of issues, including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, the trade deficit, and enforcement.”
At the G20 in late June, Trump agreed to suspend a new round of tariffs on $300 billion worth of imported Chinese consumer goods while the two sides resumed negotiations. He said at that time the United States would ease restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and that China had agreed to make unspecified purchases of U.S. farm products.
No major Chinese purchasing has resumed, though White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow on Tuesday said he hoped that would change soon.
The countries’ top negotiators have spoken by phone since the G20 meeting.
China has said that any deal needs to be fair and equitable, leaving the two sides apparently still far apart from an agreement to end a trade war that has worried investors over macroeconomic growth.
The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global growth on Tuesday amid concerns over various trade and tariff issues, including the U.S.-China trade dispute.