China’s Trade Talk Deputies Heading for the U.S. This Week



Mark Niquette, Ben Brody, and Miao Han | Bloomberg

Chinese working-level trade officials are scheduled to travel to the U.S. this week to prepare for a meeting of top negotiators in October, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Liao Min, deputy director of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs and vice finance minister, plans to lead a delegation to visit the United States on Wednesday for trade consultations, according to the statement Tuesday. On Monday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donohue said that there’s much work to do to reach a comprehensive deal.

Mnuchin Lighthizer  Liu He

Robert Lighthizer gestures while he chats wit Liu He as Steven Mnuchin listens in Shanghai on July 31.

Administration officials have discussed offering a limited trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs in exchange for Chinese commitments on intellectual property and agricultural purchases.

Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last met their Chinese counterpart Vice Premier Liu He in Shanghai in late July. Since then, the U.S. has added tariffs on an additional $110 billion of Chinese goods, spurring retaliation from Beijing.

China has said it expects negotiators to resume face-to-face talks in Washington in early October.

Donohue said Lighthizer indicated there’s some movement on China buying U.S. farming products and other issues, but it’s “an extraordinary challenge” to get a complete deal.

The chamber chief executive said while he’s optimistic about an agreement, he’s also a realist and “this is not a simple problem.”

On the North American trade deal, Donohue said negotiations are still happening between Lighthizer and congressional Democrats about proposed changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, which the chamber supports. The USMCA still requires congressional approval to take force.

Lighthizer sent House Democrats a new offer on the stalled agreement last week to resolve concerns over enforcement and other provisions.

“I believe that long before we start looking at the holidays we’ll have this thing done,” Donohue said.

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