Trump and Xi talked by phone on Tuesday, no details reported

Clay Curtis
July 10, 2019

U.S. officials held a phone call on Tuesday with their Chinese counterparts to discuss the ongoing trade conflict between the countries, United States officials said.

The United States and Chinese trade representatives held a "constructive" telephonic conversation on Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser said it marked the latest round of dialogues between two sides since the world's two largest economies are struggling a year-long trade war, exhausted of what they reached an agreement to a tariff truce.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Tuesday evening held a telephone conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as invited, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday.

A USTR spokesman said the call was expected this week, but gave no further details.

The heads of the negotiating teams of China and the U.S. have spoken on how to implement the consensus reached by the Presidents of the two countries, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday.

The talks to end the trade war between the U.S and China broke down in May after the United States blamed China for retreating from commitments including new laws to address the US concerns.

"Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate", the separate US official said in an email, declining to provide details on what was discussed and the next steps for talks.

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Three sources familiar with the state of negotiations said that the Chinese side did not make firm commitments to immediately purchase agricultural commodities.

Trump said in Osaka that China would restart large purchases of USA agricultural commodities, and the United States would ease some export restrictions on Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies. Trump administration officials have also downplayed the extent of pledges to allow Huawei to purchase USA technology products, with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro saying only "lower-tech" USA semiconductors could be made available for sale to the firm.

But differences remain between the world's two largest economies.

Beijing is urging Washington to lift all punitive levies right away.

The exemption from the 25 percent tariffs will be part of the $34 billion worth Chinese imports that faced the first round of tariffs on July 6, 2018.

Ms Claire Reade, a former China trade negotiator at USTR, said there was room on both sides to get a deal.

"I think that kind of thinking would probably do great damage to these trade talks", he said.

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