Trade discussions resume between US, China

Trade discussions resume between US, China
© Greg Nash

Trade discussions have resumed between the U.S. and China as Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump eyes additional funds for small businesses impacted by pandemic Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus MORE and his Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, seek to ease friction between the two countries caused by the escalating trade war.

Mnuchin and He on Friday spoke over the phone about a possible future trade deal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The two did not come to a conclusion, but the discussions are ongoing.

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The U.S. Treasury secretary during the call reportedly pushed China to offer a formal agreement before the countries can begin negotiations, the Journal reported.  

The conversation between the financial leaders comes a few weeks after President Trump said that he had a "long and very good" conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping about trade.

"Just had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China," Trump tweeted on Nov. 1. "We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade. Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina." 

Bloomberg reported at the end of October that the U.S. is preparing to slap tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks between Trump and Xi at the G-20 do not ease trade tensions.

Washington has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods and Beijing has responded with $110 billion in retaliatory duties. 

Of those tariffs, $200 billion of goods are set increase from 10 percent to 25 percent on Jan. 1, the Journal noted. Trump could choose to halt that increase.