Lighthizer to speak with Chinese trade official before G-20 summit

Lighthizer to speak with Chinese trade official before G-20 summit
© Anna Moneymaker

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE said Wednesday that he plans to speak with his Chinese counterpart by phone before the two countries resume trade talks.

Lighthizer told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he plans to speak with Vice Premier Liu He this week. He added that it's not yet clear whether official trade negotiations will proceed.

“When actual negotiations begin again, I can’t say at this point. But we’re talking, we’re going to meet,” Lighthizer said during a congressional hearing. “If we can resolve these issues in a way that improves this relationship, preserves the competitive advantage of the United States, we have an obligation to do that."

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The U.S. is "ready to engage" with China, Lighthizer said, while noting that he wants to make sure that a perceived imbalance between the two countries is addressed.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNavarro, Mnuchin clashed in front of Trump in Oval Office over TikTok: WaPo Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Trump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter MORE and Lighthizer are slated to meet with Liu in person before President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the two-day Group of 20 summit in Japan that starts June 28. 

Trump said Tuesday that he will have an "extended meeting" with Xi at the summit. Trade negotiations between the two countries collapsed last month, prompting Trump to increase tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products while threatening tariffs on an additional $300 billion in goods if Xi did not meet with him at the summit.

China responded by increasing tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports.

Updated at 1:56 p.m.