Top US, Chinese trade officials have 'constructive' talk on holding face-to-face meeting

Top U.S. and Chinese officials held a "constructive" telephone conversation on Tuesday in advance of a potential face-to-face meeting to discuss the ongoing trade dispute between the two nations.

Continue Reading Below

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talked with their Chinese counterparts, including Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Minister Zhong Shan, about resuming trade talks, according to top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow.

Kudlow said the talks "went well," adding that although details of a potential meeting of negotiators from the two nations were not settled, they "expect there will be a meeting."

In addition, Kudlow said a face-to-face meeting would make "good sense."

Earlier Tuesday, another U.S. official confirmed that the phone call focused on continuing "negotiations aimed at resolving the outstanding trade disputes between the United States and China."

President Trump also referenced the possibility of trade negotiations being resumed.

The revived negotiations come after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 summit to withhold the imposition of any new tariffs. Duties on $250 billion in Chinese products remain, however, and are a lingering point of tensions in the discussions.

At the meeting in Japan, Trump also said he would reverse a decision to block U.S. firms from selling to Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co.

Earlier Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the firm remains on a sales "blacklist" and that the agency would approve licenses in instances when there is no national security risk.

Meanwhile, the White House is facing pressure from moderate House Democrats to halt any plans to force a vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the trade deal between the three nations meant to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Moving forward with implementing legislation absent the agreement of Democratic leadership would almost certainly be taken as a failure to fulfill the consultation requirements of TPA," lawmakers wrote in a letter to Lighthizer.


The Trump administration says it is working “in good faith and constructively” with Congress, but urged quick passage of the USMCA.

Edward Lawrence contributed to this report.