China Expects Trade Deal Talks With U.S. to Take Place Soon

Source: By Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2020

China confirmed plans to talk with U.S. officials soon to review progress on their preliminary trade deal, a rare engagement between the world’s largest economies as relations deteriorate on other issues ranging from human rights in Hong Kong to technological dominance.

The two nations will be in touch in the near term, Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said in Beijing Thursday when asked if the meeting will happen. Gao didn’t announce an exact date, or elaborate further.

Both sides had been expected to talk this past weekend as part of a six-month review since the agreement, signed in January, took effect Feb. 15. Speaking in Arizona earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he canceled those plans because he’s unhappy with China over its role in the Covid-19 pandemic.“I don’t want to deal with them now. With what they did to this country and to the world, I don’t want to talk to China right now,” he said.

When asked if he’d pull out of the deal, he declined to say. “We’ll see. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said.

Chinese stocks have slumped this week, gold has stayed near an all-time high and the dollar touched a two-year low amid growing concern over tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, on Aug. 13 said the trade deal is going well, repeating comments he’d made earlier in the week and dismissing concerns that rising tensions might jeopardize the pact.

Among the issues to discuss are China’s lagging purchases of agricultural products. Trump has praised China’s recent efforts to imports U.S. corn and soybeans.

Greg Gilligan, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said this week that while the purchases by China could be happening more quickly, “there is absolutely commitment and progress that’s occurring.”

“Both sides recognize that this is really the glue that is holding the relationship together,” Gilligan said. “So that’s a reason for some optimism in an otherwise pretty bleak scenario in the larger relationship.”