China, US discuss plan for next stage of trade talks, Latest World News - The New Paper

China, US discuss plan for next stage of trade talks

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BEIJING : China and the US discussed the road map for the next stage of their trade talks yesterday, during a telephone call between Vice-Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

This month in Argentina, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce that delayed the planned Jan 1 US increase of tariffs to 25 per cent from 10 per cent on US$200 billion (S$274 billion) worth of Chinese goods.

Mr Lighthizer said on Sunday that unless US-China trade talks wrap up successfully by March 1, new tariffs will be imposed. He clarified that there is a "hard deadline" after a week of seeming confusion among Mr Trump and his advisers.

China's Commerce Ministry, in a brief statement, said Mr Liu had spoken to Mr Mnuchin and Mr Lighthizer yesterday morning in a telephone call.

"Both sides exchanged views on putting into effect the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders at their meeting, and pushing forward the timetable and road map for the next stage of economic and trade consultations work," the ministry said. It did not elaborate.

A US Treasury spokesman confirmed that the call with Mr Liu took place, but offered no further details.

The Harvard-educated Mr Liu, Mr Xi's top economic adviser, is leading the talks on the Chinese side.

In comments reported by state television yesterday, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said if China and the US cooperated, it would benefit the world.

"If China and the United States are antagonistic, then there are no winners, and it will hurt the whole world," the channel cited him as saying.

Global markets are jittery about a growing clash between the world's two largest economic powers over China's huge trade surplus with the US and Washington's claims that Beijing is stealing intellectual property and technology.

The arrest of a top executive at China's Huawei Technologies has also roiled global markets amid fears that it could further inflame the China-US trade row. - REUTERS