China, US agree to address remaining issues for phase one deal: MOFCOM

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/26 11:37:10

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He shakes hands with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer before a photo session after a round of trade talks in Shanghai on July 31. Photo: VCG

Chinese and US trade negotiators on Tuesday reached a consensus to properly address the core issues of their respective concerns, and agreed to maintain contact over remaining issues for a phase one trade agreement, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced.

The consensus was reached during a phone call between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and the US side, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. The two sides exchanged views on how to address each other's core concerns, MOFCOM said in a statement.

"[The two sides] achieved consensus on properly addressing relevant issues and agreed to maintain contact over the remaining issues for the phase one trade agreement," the statement revealed.

The "relevant issues" discussed on the Tuesday phone call may include tariff removal, agricultural purchases and a review mechanism for the implementation of a potential agreement, according to an expert who is closely following the trade talks.

The officials may have also discussed a date for a face-to-face meeting, said the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

The two teams have not had a face-to-face meeting since the latest round of negotiations in Washington in mid-October, and have instead relied on phone calls. Media reports last week suggested that officials could hold another round of talks in Beijing.

Tuesday's phone call came after experts close to the Chinese government told the Global Times on Monday that, despite negative media reports, the two sides were still close to a phase one trade deal with broad consensus having been reached.

The phone call also came as market expectation for a phase one trade deal faded in recent days over a series of issues, including the US trying to meddle in Chinese internal affairs in Hong Kong and the US Federal Communications Commission's move to bar Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE. Such moves from the US could complicate the talks, some Chinese experts have said.


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