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  • Chinese and U.S. flags flutter near The Bund, before U.S. trade delegation meet their Chinese counterparts for talks in Shanghai, China July 30, 2019.

    Chinese and U.S. flags flutter near The Bund, before U.S. trade delegation meet their Chinese counterparts for talks in Shanghai, China July 30, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 October 2019

About 30 Chinese officials, led by Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, entered the U.S. Trade Representative’s office for two days of negotiations.

United States and Chinese deputy trade negotiators launched the 13th round of talks Monday aimed at resolving the two nations’ 15-month trade war, with neither side showing any signs of giving ground.

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“The two sides will look to build on the deputy-level talks of the past weeks. Topics of discussion will include forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, and enforcement,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

About 30 Chinese officials, led by Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, entered the U.S. Trade Representative’s office for two days of negotiations, to be followed by the first minister-level trade talks in more than two months.

The White House and China’s state media confirmed that the high-level talks, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party and chief of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue, will hold the economic and trade consultations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from Oct. 10 to 11.

“The two sides should find a solution through equal dialogue in accordance with the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said at a news conference with other officials, adding that Commerce Minister Zhong Shan will also be part of the delegation.

Yet the Chinese official reminded that “China's standpoint on the consultations remains consistent and clear,” adding that China has stressed its principles repeatedly.

The 13th round of talks is aimed to end to the tit-for-tat trade war that has shocked global markets and economic projections for months. Trade-deputies set up the ground for the ministerial-level negotiations during September, as both countries made conciliatory gestures ahead of the next round of talks, but a deal remains elusive.

The Chinese government announced it will exempt some U.S. goods from its tariffs, which covers two lists with 16 categories of goods, and will be valid from Sept. 17, 2019, to Sept. 16, 2020, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said in a statement.

The products include soybeans, some anti-cancer drugs, and lubricants, as well as animal feed ingredients whey and fish meal.  Some of the categories will apply for refunds of levied duties within six months, granting an enormous break, especially to U.S. farmers. 

Back on Sept. 11, U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed China’s decision calling it a “big move” by Beijing and a positive gesture before trade negotiators from both countries meet in Washington.

Trump tweeted that the U.S. will delay increasing tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 “as a gesture of goodwill.” The tariffs were set to increase to 30 from 25 percent on the goods.

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