China, US had ‘constructive’ phone call on trade: report

Reuters . Beijing | Published: 00:08, Nov 18,2019 | Updated: 00:21, Nov 18,2019

 
 

A file photo shows US and Chinese flags in front of a US dollar banknote featuring American founding father Benjamin Franklin and a China’s yuan banknote featuring late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong in this illustration picture. — Reuters photo

China and United States had ‘constructive talks’ on trade in a high-level phone call on Saturday, state media Xinhua said.

China’s vice-premier Liu He, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin were on the call. The two sides discussed each other’s core issues for the first phase of an initial trade agreement, and agreed to maintain close communication, according to Xinhua.

Xinhua gave no other details in its report on Sunday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday the two countries were getting close to an agreement about ending their 16-month trade war, but he gave no further details on the timing of a possible deal.

The United States and China have been locked in successive waves of tit-for-tat tariffs that have roiled financial markets and threatened to drag growth in the global economy to its lowest rate since the 20072008 financial crisis.

An agreement had appeared likely in May, but those prospects were dashed after US negotiators said China backed away from the text of a draft agreement.

Concerns flared again last week amid reports that the trade talks had hit a snag over how and when to reduce tariffs, and how much US agricultural products China would commit to buy.

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