China, U.S. Announce High-Level Trade Talks In October
China’s Ministry of Commerce has announced that top Chinese and U.S. trade officials will meet in October to resume face-to-face talks. The talks had originally been scheduled for this month but the office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer noted that deputy-level meetings will begin soon to lay the groundwork for the October meeting. The last top-level in-person meeting on the trade issue took place in July in Shanghai.
The announcement, which follows a phone conversation in which the USTR, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People's Bank of China Governor Wang Yi and Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhen participated, rallied stock markets in both Asia and the U.S.
The talks come amidst rising tensions, as both sides lay on new tariffs. On September 1, tariffs of 15 percent went into effect on a portion of the USTR’s List Four—a list covering approximately $300 billion in imports, practically all of the remaining China-sourced products not covered under the trade war’s previous tariff lists—with the collection on the remainder of the list beginning December 15. On October 1, tariffs of 25 percent already in place on $250 billion in Chinese imports will ratchet up to 30 percent.