US, China negotiators hold ‘constructive’ call on trade deal

BEIJING (AFP) – Top Chinese and United States (US) trade negotiators held “constructive” discussions over the phone on a preliminary trade deal between the two countries, China’s commerce ministry announced in a statement yesterday.

The long-running trade war between Washington and Beijing has weighed on the global economy and spooked markets, with the two sides imposing punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.

US President Trump announced a “phase one” trade deal last month which has yet to be signed.

Vice Premier Liu He spoke with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday, and had “constructive discussion on each side’s core concerns regarding the phase-one agreement”, the Chinese commerce ministry said.

The two sides will “continue to maintain close communication”, it added, without providing further details.

Since October, differences between Washington and Beijing over whether, when and by how much to reduce tariffs on each other’s goods have spilled out into the open.

The long-running trade war between Washington and Beijing has weighed on the global economy and spooked markets. PHOTO: AFP