Kathmandu, Aug. 25:
- Negotiators review progress of phase one trade deal in telephone conversation on Tuesday
- Discussions follow mid-August postponement imposed by US president
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (left), Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in Washington last year. Photo: ReutersTop trade negotiators from China and the United States held a phone conversation on Tuesday to review progress of the phase one trade deal, after US Donald Trump postponed talks which had been expected to take place on August 15.
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to discuss the agreement’s implementation.
“The parties addressed steps that China has taken to effectuate structural changes called for by the agreement that will ensure greater protection for intellectual property rights, remove impediments to American companies in the areas of financial services and agriculture, and eliminate forced technology transfer,” according to a statement from Lighthizer’s office.
Significant increases in purchases of US products by China and further actions needed to implement the agreement were also discussed. “Both sides see progress and are committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure the success of the agreement,” the statement said.
A briefer statement by the Chinese side described the talks as “constructive” and said both sides would create favourable conditions to continue the deal.
China and the US reached the phase one trade agreement on January 15. The deal took effect one month later and the two sides have remained in regular contact on its implementation, with a top-level review scheduled every six months.
Talks to review the implementation were originally expected to occur on August 15.
China promised to buy more American goods as part of the phase one deal, including US$77 billion worth this year, with a goal of raising the value of purchases by US$200 billion compared with 2017 levels.
Beijing has fallen behind its first-year commitment because of the coronavirus pandemic and inflamed tensions with Washington. Trade remains the only sector in which the Trump administration has publicly engaged with Beijing.But senior Chinese officials have repeatedly said Beijing was committed to honouring the deal, despite rising tensions with the US over issues such as Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan and Xinjiang.
US official data and industrial data show China has increased its purchases of agricultural and energy products in recent months.