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US, China Restart Trade Talks As Trump-Xi Meeting Looms


Almost as abruptly as they collapsed, talks between Washington and Beijing will take place for the first time since the dialogue collapsed last month, with Robert Lighthizer saying he's planning on calling his counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, the leader of China's trade delegation, to restart talks, Reuters reports.

China confirmed that senior trade officials will speak before the end of the week.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday he would speak by telephone to Liu He, China's vice premier and chief negotiator in the trade talks, "in the next day and a half."

"The heads of the two trade teams will communicate, according to instructions passed down from the two presidents," Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters, without elaborating.

"We hope (the United States) will create the necessary conditions and atmosphere for solving problems through dialogue as equals."

Talks first fell apart when Washington accused Beijing of 'reneging' on its commitments. But China has vowed not to give in on matters of principle. News of the talks follows a breakthrough phone call between Trump and Xi on Wednesday where the two leaders purportedly agreed to meet in Osaka.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on another $325 billion worth of Chinese imports, covering nearly all remaining Chinese goods entering the country, including consumer products like cellphones, computers and clothing.

Though the prospect of a deal to end the trade war has helped cheer financial markets, Beijing has warned that it won't cave on its main demands.

For one, Beijing has demanded the removal of all additional trade-war tariffs. Meanwhile, both sides have disagreed over trade purchases and a "balanced" text for any trade deal. Those three "matters of principle" cannot be compromised.

Gao Feng asked if China's demands for a trade deal were still tied to the three issues being met: "China's principles and basic stance on Sino-U.S. economic and trade consultations have always been clear and consistent, and China's core concerns must be properly resolved."

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