WASHINGTON — The United States and China have agreed to return to the negotiating table in Washington to discuss trade. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since the trade war’s rapid escalation in recent weeks.
The in-person discussions will resume in “early October,” according to a statement released in China Thursday morning by the country’s Commerce Ministry. Chinese authorities added that China Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He has spoken with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the phone about the talks.
A spokesperson for Lighthizer’s department confirmed that the two sides talked and agreed to hold meetings in the US capital “in the coming weeks.”
Both countries said they will continue talking ahead of that in-person meeting. The countries agreed to “create good conditions for negotiation,” China’s Commerce Ministry said. US trade authorities said that deputy-level meetings this month will “lay the groundwork for meaningful progress.”
Asian markets rallied on the news -— stocks in Tokyo and Shanghai advanced 2.3% and 1.5%, respectively. US stock futures also jumped. Investors are welcoming news of the talks, especially since the relationship between the two countries has been so volatile in recent weeks.
Little progress was made between the United States and China during the last round of face-to-face trade meetings in Shanghai in July. Soon after those discussions, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would impose 10% tariffs — later raised to 15% -— on Chinese imports worth $300 billion. Beijing countered with tariffs of 5% to 10% on about $75 billion worth of US goods.
Washington’s latest move targets Chinese-made products like TVs and apparel that could cost the typical American consumer. In a bid to soften the blow to holiday shopping, the US government has postponed the implementation of about half of them until December 15.
The latest round of tariffs that the countries imposed on each other went into effect Sunday.
More tariffs are on the way. Trump said last month that he will increase rates on existing tariffs from 25% to 30% on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods in October. China also said it would resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts in December.