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China, US say talks on implementing trade pact coming soon

Associated Press

Beijing – Chinese and U.S. trade envoys will hold a meeting by phone “in the near future” to discuss an agreement aimed at resolving a tariff war, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The spokesman, Gao Feng, gave no details of the timing at a ministry news briefing.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that the talks are part of the process of implementing the U.S.-China trade deal, though he did not say when they would actually happen. He attributed any delay to “scheduling issues.”

A Chinese Commerce Ministry official said Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, that talks with the U.S. on a trade agreement that were postponed last week will be held "soon."

“It’s part of the process, part of the governance process of this large trade deal,” Kudlow said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.” “It was on again, off again, that’s all that was, was scheduling issues. It’s a normal review.”

Under the “Phase 1” trade agreement signed in January, both governments agreed to suspend potential additional penalties on each other’s goods in a fight that erupted in 2018 over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus.

The truce called for talks to be held after six months, but those were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. A meeting scheduled for last week was to be held online but was postponed.

“Both parties have agreed to hold a call in the near future,” Gao said.

Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said the administration has “many huge complaints about China, many,” but that both sides are engaged on the deal. He said China has been buying “a ton” of commodities, mostly agricultural goods, and that the U.S. trade representative believes China is “following their script.”

“So far, so good,” Kudlow said.

The two governments have rolled back some penalties but most of the punitive tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods remain in place.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.