China Says US Trade Talks Will Resume in October

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese and U.S. envoys will meet in early October for more talks aimed at ending the tariff war that threatens global economic growth.

Forever 21, a U.S. fashion retailer, offered clearance discounts in Beijing as it pulled out of the Chinese market. (AP file photo/Andy Wong)

Stock markets rose on Thursday’s announcement but there has been no sign of progress since Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume deadlocked negotiations about trade and technology.

Investors were rattled by a report that officials were struggling to agree on a schedule for talks originally planned for this month.

The agreement on a date came in a phone call conducted by the chief Chinese envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

Officials will “conduct conscientious consultations” in mid-September to prepare, the ministry said. It gave no details but said the two sides want to create “favorable conditions.”

China’s main stock market index was up by 1.6% at midday after the announcement. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 2.3% and South Korea’s main index rose by 1%.

Beijing is balking at U.S. pressure to roll back its plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other industries.

The United States, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say those plans violate China’s market-opening commitments and are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over technology.

The United States and China have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s imports, disrupting trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment and battering traders on both sides.

In their latest escalation, Washington imposed 15% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports on Sunday, extending penalties to almost everything the United States buys from China. Beijing responded by imposing duties of 10% and 5% on a range of U.S. imports.

U.S. tariffs of 25% imposed previously on $250 billion of Chinese goods are due to rise to 30% on Oct. 1.

China has imposed or announced penalties on a total of about $120 billion of U.S. imports, economists estimate. Some have been hit with increases more than once, while about $50 billion of U.S. goods is unaffected, possibly to avoid disrupting Chinese industries.

Beijing also has retaliated by canceling purchases of soybeans, the biggest single U.S. export to China.

Beijing has agreed to narrow its politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States but is reluctant to give up development strategies it sees as a path to prosperity and global influence.

Talks broke down in May over how to enforce any agreement.

China insists Trump’s punitive tariffs must be lifted once a deal takes effect. Washington says at least some must stay to make sure Beijing carries out any promises.

The last round of talks in July in Shanghai ended with no indication of progress. Neither government has given any indication it is ready to break the deadlock by offering concessions.

Some analysts suggest Beijing is holding out in hopes Trump will feel pressure to make a more favorable deal as his campaign for the 2020 presidential election picks up. Trump has warned that if he is re-elected, China will face a tougher U.S. negotiating stance.

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