The United States and China have initiated the latest round of trade talks on Tuesday with a phone call between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
According to a report coming from the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, the three officials discussed Chinese purchases of agricultural products and changes to fundamental Chinese economic policies during the phone call. They didn’t provide further details.
The refreshed trade talks follow an agreement made between the U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit meeting. As part of the agreement, the two leaders have temporarily halted the ongoing trade issue. The US government will now no longer impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent on January 1. Beijing, on the other hand, has agreed to buy an unspecified but very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the United States to help reduce the trade imbalance.
Notably, the Chinese officials are also considering making changes to the Made in China 2025 plan as the plan has been included in the U.S.’s complaints against the Beijing accusing it of unfair trade practices. The Made in China 2025 plan is a state-led industrial policy that is aimed at enabling Chinese companies to dominate a number of industries such as artificial intelligence and robotics.
As per reports, the U.S. and Chinese officials have announced that Beijing is planning to purchase soybean from the U.S. as a goodwill gesture in the trade talks which is expected to conclude around March 1 after the 90-day tariff cease-fire.
Meanwhile, China has summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest over the detention of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian authorities at the orders of the United States.