US, China top trade negotiators to talk again on Friday

Beijing, Oct 31 (AFP/APP): Top US and Chinese trade negotiators will talk again on Friday, China said, as uncertainty swirls over the cancellation of the APEC summit where leaders of the two countries had been expected to meet.

US President Donald Trump said Monday that he expected a “phase one” trade deal with Beijing to be signed on the sidelines of the November summit in Chile, after an 18-month trade impasse between the two economic giants.

But Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera announced Wednesday that his country could no longer host the event, due to violent unrest in the city.

“Negotiating teams on the Chinese and US sides have continued to maintain close communication, and negotiations are currently making smooth progress,” the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement Thursday.

“The two sides will continue to push forward negotiations and other work according to the original plan,” the ministry said, adding that leaders from both sides will hold another call Friday, a week after senior officials last spoke over the phone.

The White House said later on Wednesday that Trump still hopes to sign a trade deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in coming weeks.

China and the US have exchanged blows for over a year, with tariffs now impacting hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade.

Now with the 2020 presidential election approaching, and Trump under pressure from the impeachment inquiry in Congress, US trade officials have focused on getting a partial deal in the books.

China’s Commerce Ministry said on October 26 that both sides had agreed to “properly address each other’s core concerns.”

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