Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a phone call with his U.S. counterparts — Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — on Tuesday morning (Beijing time), the country’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
What Happened This TIme
The ministry said that the officials discussed how to address each other’s core concerns over the trade deal and reached a consensus on solving some of the other issues, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
The ministry also said that the representatives from the two countries have agreed to continue the communications for finalizing the “phase one” of the trade deal.
The US-China trade deal talks are reportedly stuck as the two countries struggle to reach an agreement over the trade of farm products and China’s intellectual property law, among other concerns.
According to Reuters, a trade deal is unlikely to be signed until early next year.
China’s President Xi Jinping said last week that he wants the two countries to reach an agreement on the phase one of the trade deal soon and that China never wanted the trade war in the first place.
SCMP noted that the Commerce Ministry statement could mean that the Chinese government wants to keep the trade deal separate from other issues facing the two countries' relations.
In a separate announcement on Tuesday, the Beijing government said that it had summoned Terry Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China, to express its protest regarding the bill passed by the U.S. Senate last week. The bill requires the U.S. Secretary of State to make sure Hong Kong has sufficient autonomy from Beijing.
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