- Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to fly to Washington for preparatory trade talks ahead of a meeting between US President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the South China Morning Post reports.
- Trump and Xi are expected to hold an informal meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of November.
- Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a phone conversation with Liu on Friday evening.
- Markets welcomed the news, with European stock benchmarks up and US index futures inching higher.
Trade relations between the US and China appear to be thawing ahead of a planned informal meeting between President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping later this month.
Trump and Xi are expected to hold an informal meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of November, and senior officials from both countries seem to be priming the pump with a series of preparatory meetings.
Most recently, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was set to fly to Washington, DC, ahead of the Buenos Aires meeting with the aim of meeting senior officials in the Trump administration.
The report added that his exact travel date was unclear.
Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a phone conversation with Liu on Friday evening to discuss the trade issues. That conversation “didn’t lead to any breakthrough,” The Journal said.
“At present, both countries’ economic teams are having contacts about putting into effect the consensus of the two countries’ leaders,” Assistant Commerce Minister Li Chenggang told reporters earlier this month.
“We hope that this work, with the hard efforts of both sides, can achieve positive progress.”
Reports of a potential meeting between Liu and his US counterparts come soon after a report that Trump has once again raised the possibility of levying large tariffs on US auto imports.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the White House internally is circulating a draft report from the Commerce Department on auto tariffs. Trump reportedly plans to meet with his trade team Tuesday to discuss the report. Releasing a Commerce Department report on auto tariffs would be the next formal step toward imposing such restrictions.
The US government has already introduced tariffs ranging from 10% to 25% on $US250 billion worth of Chinese goods entering the US, prompting Chinese policymakers to introduce retaliatory tariffs on US goods entering the nation, albeit on a smaller scale.
Trump has previously threatened to place tariffs on all US imports from China, an amount totaling more than $US500 billion annually, a move that would most likely slow global trade significantly.
Stocks have greeted the potential for further dialogue between the world’s two largest economies, with China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite gaining close to 1% on Tuesday and major European bourses rising as much as 0.7%. The Euro Stoxx 50 broad index was about 0.6% higher.
US stock index futures were also up slightly after a tech-led sell-off Monday.
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