China, US to hold trade talks in late August


The Chinese government did not say what topics would be discussed at the upcoming meeting, but reiterated Beijing's stance that it opposes "unilateralism and trade protectionism".

Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, will lead a delegation to the United States at the end of August to discuss bilateral trade issues with a team led by David Malpass, secretary of treasury for global affairs, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement today.

News of the meeting gave a lift to the yuan and helped cap losses in China's stock markets. The countries imposed steep tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's exports this summer and have threatened more.

The last round of talks was in early June. Wang is also the deputy China global trade representative. Beijing retaliated by imposing the same percentage of retaliatory tariffs on 545 USA items, also worth $34 billion. The SCI 300 Index was up 0.59 per cent by mid-morning, having fallen as much as 1.8 per cent shortly after open.

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While the engagement was seen by analysts and business officials as positive, they cautioned that the talks were unlikely to lead to a breakthrough, given they involve lower-level officials, led on the U.S. side by the Treasury Department, not the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Washington is due to activate additional tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods on August 23, and Beijing has said it will respond in kind.

News of the meeting boosted the yuan and aided China's stock market, Reuters reported. Another $16 billion in levies will be effective later in August.

A currency war will be inevitable if the U.S. ratchets up tariffs to 25pc on $200bn of Chinese goods this September, economists fear. But Trump backed away from the agreement and the two nations have been locked in a tit-for-tat trade war ever since.