China, US Reach ‘Consensus on Principles’ in Latest Trade Talks

Top trade negotiators from the world’s two economic superpowers held telephone talks on Friday after the unexpected cancellation of the APEC Summit, which was set to take place in protest-hit Chile.

China and the US have reached a consensus on principles after Friday talks between the two countries’ top trade negotiators, China’s Xinhua newspaper has reported.

“The two sides conducted serious and constructive discussions on properly addressing their core concerns and reached consensus on principles. The two sides discussed the next consultation arrangements,” the state-owned news agency said.
Earlier Friday, US media reported that US trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin had “made progress in a variety of areas” in talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, and that they were “in the process of resolving outstanding issues” in the China trade negotiations.

Speaking to reporters Friday, senior Trump economic aide Larry Kudlow said that although “the deal is not complete,” he could report “enormous progress” in reaching a deal to end the multi-billion dollar trade war between Washington and Beijing, which has led to billions in economic losses on both sides and, recently, to fears of a global economic recession.

On Thursday, President Trump optimistically tweeted that China and the US were “working on selecting a new site” for the signing of a ‘Phase One Trade Agreement’ affecting about 60 percent of the dotal deal following the cancelation of the APEC summit, and promised that a “new location” for the signing would be “announced soon.” Trump earlier boasted that the ‘phase one’ deal was “very substantial” and that negotiations on ‘phase two’ would start “almost immediately” after phase one was signed.

According to media reports, the phase one deal includes a willingness by China to address US intellectual property concerns, and to commit to the purchase of some $40-$50 billion in US agricultural goods hit by the tariff war.

In his UN General Assembly address in September, President Trump justified the $500 billion+ in tariffs on Chinese goods, saying his administration’s policy was aimed at “restoring balance” in the trade relationship between the two countries following decades of trade deficits and ‘unfair trade deals’ by his predecessors.

The US began introducing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods in May 2018, leading to a tit-for-tat escalation and tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of products, including virtually the entirety of Chinese exports to the United States, and a ban on US agricultural exports to the Asian country.

Source: News Agencies