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China’s vice premier Liu He to visit Washington for new round of trade talks

THE WIRE WITH UP-TO-THE-MINUTE UPDATES

China’s Vice-Premier and Chinese President Xin Jinping’s special envoy Liu He will visit Washington to hold trade talks with top US officials on Thursday and Friday to discuss a possible memorandum of understanding to suspend the trade war between the two nations, according to China’s official news agency Xinhua.

Liu will meet US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to the report, without giving further details.

The meetings, at which the two sides will also discuss China’s pledge to buy a substantial amount of goods and services from the US, were to take place in the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, according to the US statement.

The countries are nearing the end of a 90-day suspension of further tariff increases that was agreed by Trump and Xi in Buenos Aires on December 1. The US has threatened to increase tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on US$200 billion worth of Chinese exports to the US if a deal cannot be reached by March 1.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump wrote: “Important meetings and calls on China trade deal, and more, today with my staff. Big progress being made on soooo many different fronts! Our country has such fantastic potential for future growth and greatness on an even higher level!”

The outcome of the talks in Washington, which are likely to be the last before March 1, will largely decide whether China and the United States can reach a pact – probably in the form of a memorandum of understanding – to suspend the tariff battle that has been disturbing global markets and clouding growth prospects since last year.

Last week in Beijing, Liu and US officials held the two countries’ sixth round of trade talks in the past year, with both sides saying progress had been made towards resolving their dispute.

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