The Commerce Ministry of China said on Thursday that there was a phone call between the leaders of the US and China in the morning. The call was regarding trade talks, and both of them agreed to meet for another round of talks in early October. The Commerce Ministry of China said in an official statement that Mr. Liu He, the top negotiator on trade of China spoke with Mr. Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative and Mr. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary. A spokesperson of the US Trade Representative confirmed about the phone call, in a statement to CNBC.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry stated that both the sides agreed to hold another round of trade talks, early next month in Washington, D.C. The consultations regarding the preparation for meeting will be made in mid-September. According to the ministry’s statement, the two sides agreed that they should work together. Also, they should take practical actions in order to create favorable conditions for negotiations. However, a spokesperson of the US Trade Representative admitted that the two countries agreed for meeting in the coming weeks at the legislative level in Washington. The deputy-level meetings would be to lay the groundwork for eloquent progress.
The trade tensions amid the two largest economies of the world intensified in the last several weeks. The most recent round of retaliatory tariffs on goods of billions of dollars in each country came into effect on Sunday. This potentially raised the prices for Americans who pay for some shoes, sporting goods, clothes, and other consumer products in advance of the holiday shopping season. Trump’s 15% tariffs apply to nearly $112 billion of imports from China. On Sunday, the China government introduced a tariff of 5% to 10% on all major US commodities (including soybeans and crude oil) exported to China. According to the statement, Mr. Zhong Shan, the Commerce Minister of China, Mr. Yi Gang, Governor of People’s Bank of China, and Ning Jizhe, the Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, also joined the phone call.