SHANGHAI—Chinese and U.S. negotiators resumed trade talks, taking tentative steps to overcome mutual mistrust and limited political appetite for a breakthrough agreement after weeks of recriminations.
The U.S. team, led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, gathered for dinner Tuesday with the Chinese side, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a Shanghai landmark on the city’s riverfront, according to a person familiar with the situation. A more formal round of talks is to take place at a government guest house in the west of the city Wednesday.
Both sides are looking to the other to demonstrate goodwill, said people briefed on the discussions, with the U.S. expecting a pickup in Chinese orders for American farm goods and Beijing waiting for Washington to relax restrictions on Chinese telecommunications gear maker Huawei Technologies Co.’s access to U.S. technology.
“In trade negotiations, nothing is decided until everything is decided, although it’s possible there will be some baby steps, some partial landing zones, to build confidence,” said James Green, a former U.S. diplomat and trade official who is now an adviser at McLarty Associates, a consulting firm.
Apart from small steps, however, expectations are low for significant progress in resolving a trade dispute that has rattled global markets and seen both sides slap punitive tariffs on about half the more than $600 billion in goods they trade.
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