China, US discuss key issues of the trade agreement

Beijing: China and the United States discussed key issues related to the trade agreement between the nations over a phone call on Tuesday, according to the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

“Chinese State Council Vice Premier Liu He held a phone conversation with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the parties have discussed in detail the key issues (relating) to the text (of the trade agreement) and defined the agenda for the further work,” Sputnik quoted a statement issued by the ministry as saying.

The last round of talks between the two sides has raised hopes for a trade agreement which would put an end to the trade dispute Washington and Beijing have been involved in since last year.

US President Donald Trump delayed the increase of tariffs on Chinese imports in February following consultations with the Chinese side in Washington DC, outlining that “substantial progress” had been made in trade talks on “important structural issues”.

He had also announced that “assuming both sides make additional progress,” a summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would be held at Mar-a-Lago to conclude an agreement which would bring the trade imbalance between the nations to an end.

China and the United States have temporarily halted the trade war between the sides in order to hold talks to alleviate the situation. A 90-day truce period was decided upon by Trump and Xi when they met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina last year.

The US President had earlier threatened to raise tariffs on the USD 200 billion of Chinese products from 10 per cent to 25 per cent at the end of the period of truce on March 1. Upon “successful” trade talks between the two nations, he later extended the March 1 deadline to work out a deal.