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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gestures as he chats with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looks on, after posing for a family photo at the Xijiao Conference Center in Shanghai, China, July 31, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/N. H. Guan

US-China trade talks end for now

July 31, 2019

Describing the short round of talks as "constructive," the White House foresees negotiations continuing in Washington in early September. China has blamed the US for a lack of progress.


The United States and China ended their first face-to-face talks since last month's improvement in relations. The gathering on Wednesday was the first round of talks since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a truce in June.

"The meetings were constructive, and we expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington ... in early September," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The meeting between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He ended 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Lighthizer and Mnuchin gave no comments to the press as they left.

China's Commerce Ministry issued a statement shortly after the US team left Shanghai on Wednesday. "Both sides, according to the consensus reached by the two leaders in Osaka, had a candid, highly effective, constructive and deep exchange on major trade and economic issues of mutual interest." 

Read more: Asia's triple whammy — China slowdown, trade war and chips

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US was to blame for the lack of progress.

"I believe the US should show more sincerity and good faith," Hua Chunying said.

The US has so far racked up $250 billion (€224 billion) worth of tariffs on Chinese goods. China has slapped retaliatory tariffs on $110 billion worth of American imports.

The tit-for-tat exchange started over US complaints that China steals American technology or forces US companies to hand it over.

Read more: IMF warns of trade tensions in global outlook downgrade

Trade tirade

The Shanghai meeting was overshadowed by Trump, who on Tuesday said China wanted him to lose the 2020 presidential election to strike an easier trade deal with a Democratic administration.

"They'll pray that Trump loses," he said. "And then they'll make a deal with a stiff; somebody that doesn't know what they're doing."

On Twitter, the Republican president wrote that China had not upheld an agreement to buy more US agricultural products and vowed to get a "tougher" deal if reelected.

amp/rt (AP, AFP)

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