More trade talks likely in US
Chinese vice premier could go to Washington
Trade talks between China and the US are likely to continue as foreign media reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is “most likely” to visit Washington later this month.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Liu is likely to visit the US later this month and continue trade talks, after the two countries ended their extended negotiations in Beijing this week, Reuters reported.
Asked about a possible trip to Washington by Liu, who is leading the Chinese negotiating team, both Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the two sides are in close touch for future talks, but neither revealed details.
Some international media reports speculated that Liu would head to the US later this month to meet Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Liu is also scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, later this month.
US President Donald Trump cancelled plans to attend the forum amid a partial government shutdown. Mnuchin told reporters that he was talking with the White House about making the trip to Switzerland, where he is likely to meet Liu.
The US government shutdown would have no impact on trade talks between China and the US, he said.
The two sides wrapped up their extended negotiations in Beijing with officials on both sides highlighting progress and commitment to further talks, but also exercising caution talking about specifics, laying bare the delicate dynamic in negotiations where both opportunities for a final deal and uncertainties coexist.
At a press briefing dominated by questions on the trade talks on Thursday, Gao Feng, spokesperson for the MOFCOM, said that the talks were “broad, in-depth and detailed.”
“Both sides are striving for solidly implementing the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.”
The MOFCOM statement on Thursday morning mentioned “trade and structural issues” as topics, while the US Trade Representative (USTR) release went further, repeating long-held grievances against China including unbalanced trade, market access and intellectual property rights.
“Based on the official statements, I am very confident that there will be a higher-level consultation very soon,” Wei Jianguo, a former vice minister of commerce, told the Global Times on Thursday, noting that a Chinese delegation would likely travel to Washington soon.