Kudlow says US-China trade talks to be held in person as soon as next week

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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, May 3, 2019.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Top representatives from the United States and China will meet in the coming week to continue trade talks between the world’s largest economies, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday.

“Those talks will continue in earnest this coming week,” Kudlow told reporters.

The two sides have already been in communication by phone. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed during a meeting in Japan last week to relaunch talks that had stalled in May.

Kudlow later backed away slightly from his timeline, saying that the face-to-face talks would begin “soon” and that an announcement would be forthcoming.

“I don’t know precisely when. They’re on the phone. They’re going to be on the phone this coming week and they’ll be scheduling face-to-face meetings,” he said.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are leading the talks for the American side.

Talks between the two sides broke down in May after U.S. officials accused China of pulling back from commitments it had made previously in the text of an agreement that negotiators said was nearly finished.

Washington accuses Beijing of allowing intellectual property theft and forcing U.S. companies to share their technology with Chinese counterparts in order to do business in China. It wants China to change its laws on those and other issues. China denies such practices and is reluctant to make sweeping legal changes.

Both countries have levied tariffs on the other, but Trump made two major concessions at the meeting with Xi to get talks started again: he agreed not to put tariffs on some $300 billion in additional Chinese imports and to loosen restrictions on Chinese technology company Huawei.

The United States has 25% tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods now ranging from semi-conductors to furniture.

“We’ve been accommodative. We will not lift tariffs during the talks,” Kudlow said. “We are hoping that China will toe its end of it by purchasing a good many of American imports.”

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