Signs of progress in trade talks between the world’s two largest economies

Senior negotiators from China and the United States spoke last weekend, after signs emerged of concessions by both sides on some outstanding issues.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the chief negotiator in trade talks with the United States, spoke with US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Leitzer by telephone Saturday morning Beijing time, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said. The statement said they had “constructive” discussions on each side’s fundamental concerns in the first deal and agreed to stay in close and long-term contact.

Over the past week, China has removed restrictions on poultry imports from the United States as the Trump administration prepares to extend the license, which will allow US companies to continue to work with Huawei technology, The New York Times reported Saturday.

While the administration of US President Donald Trump has indicated that talks with China on the first phase of the broader trade agreement are in the final stages, this is not a guarantee that there will be no further breakdown in the talks. “We are coming down to the short strokes and are in communication with them every single day.” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters late Thursday in Washington.

It is often the final phases of the trade agreements that break down the talks, and Trump still has not publicly indicated his approval. The two sides were close to finalizing the deal just six months before the trade talks collapsed, as the United States claimed China had withdrawn from previous agreements.

The two sides held working-level video conferences that focused on issues ranging from details and timetable for Chinese purchases of US farm goods to commitments to curb the theft of intellectual property claimed by Trump from China, according to people familiar with the discussions.


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