White House calls trade talks with China 'constructive'

White House calls trade talks with China 'constructive'
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The White House on Wednesday called talks between the U.S. and China “constructive” and said the two sides will meet again in early September to discuss a resolution to the countries’ months-long trade war. 

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White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Playboy correspondent sues White House over suspended credentials Playboy White House correspondent says he'll sue over suspended credentials MORE said the Chinese government “confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports” and that top officials talked about major flashpoints in the trading relationship, including forced technology transfers, intellectual property rights and nontariff barriers.  

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Democrats push judge for quick action on Trump tax returns lawsuit Five key players in Trump's trade battles MORE wrapped up two days of talks earlier Wednesday with their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai. 

The meetings were the first in-person negotiations between the two sides since talks broke down in May over deep disagreements regarding China’s technology policies and trading practices. President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in June to freeze further tariff increases and resume the negotiations. 

While the White House expressed optimism about the talks, there was no sign of a significant breakthrough. Trump on Tuesday rattled financial markets by saying that Beijing may wait to see if he loses in the 2020 election before deciding whether to make concessions. 

“I think if China had their wish, they’d wait until after the election, they’ll pray that Trump loses, and then they’ll make a deal with a stiff,” Trump told reporters. 

Trump has long accused China of “ripping off” the U.S. on trade, and the administration has complained that the Asian economic giant forces companies to hand over sensitive technology in order to do business there. 

The president responded to the most recent breakdown in talks by raising tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports. China responded by slapping tariffs on more than $100 billion in U.S. goods. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on more than $300 billion in additional Chinese goods if the government does not agree to change its trade practices.