China’s top economic official will “likely” visit the U.S. for trade talks in January according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
China’s Vice Premier Liu He, a top trade negotiator, made what appeared to be an unexpected showing at the U.S.-China trade meetings in Beijing early this week. The U.S. trade team that participated was made up not of top, but of high and mid-level trade officials.
Sec. Mnuchin confirmed to reporters Thursday, “The current intent is that the Vice Premier Liu He will most likely come and visit us later in the month and I would expect the government shutdown would have no impact.” The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office has continued all operations with existing funds during the partial government shutdown. This includes trade negotiations.
Officials at this week’s trade meetings in Beijing specifically discussed “ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity, and balance in trade relations between our two countries,” according to the USTR. Also discussed was the necessity for any trade agreement between the two nations to include complete implementation, ongoing verification, and effective enforcement.
Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China have been on-again, off-again. The U.S. has issued increasing tariffs on Chinese goods and China has issued retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping came to an agreement at the G20 summit in Argentina last December to pause tariff increases, to take part in 90 days of focused trade talks, and China agreed to purchase more U.S. agricultural, energy, and manufactured goods.
The trade talks are targeted at “achieving needed structural changes in China with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft of trade secrets for commercial purposes, services, and agriculture,” according to the USTR.
China’s Commerce Ministry put out a statement at the end of the week’s trade talks that were translated by CNBC. The statement said the promised talks were carried out “enthusiastically” on both sides. It said the two sides “implemented the important agreement of the heads of both countries, and held broad, deep and meticulous discussions on shared observations on trade issues and structural problems, laying the foundation for addressing areas of common concern.”