China, United States agree to hold trade talks, says Chinese Ministry of Commerce

FILE PHOTO: China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng attended a news conference at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, China, June 19, 2018. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the United States have agreed to hold trade talks “in the coming days” to evaluate the progress of their Phase 1 trade agreement six months after it went into effect in February, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. Thursday.

Ministerial spokesman Gao Feng made the remarks at a weekly information week held online, but did not comment.

They followed Tuesday’s remarks by Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that no new high-level trade talks were planned, although both sides were in touch on the implementation of the Phase 1 deal.

The deal, reached on Jan. 15, and seen as a major breakthrough after a two-year trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies, set ambitious goals for China to sharply increase purchases of American farm and manufactured goods.

But ties quickly soured in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and China’s introduction of a new national security law in Hong Kong.

Both sides are dealing with threats and sanctions on individuals and companies, such as the Chinese video platform TikTok.

Official data also suggests China’s imports of U.S. farms and manufactured goods, energy and services are well behind the pace needed to meet a first-year target increase of $ 77 billion over 2017 purchases.

However, China’s purchases have increased as its economy recovers from the onslaught of this coronavirus.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump told reporters that he had postponed a August 15 review of the trade pact, in frustration over Beijing’s treatment of the virus pandemic.

Report by Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo; Edited by Alison Williams and Clarence Fernandez

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