Fri, 18 Oct 2019

China says a government official will travel to the United States this week to lay the groundwork for the resumption of high-level trade talks next month.

State-run Xinhua news agency says deputy finance minister Liao Min will arrive in Washington Wednesday for talks with counterparts from the Trump administration to "pave the way" for the senior level negotiations, which will also take place in the U.S. capital.

The decision to hold a new round of talks was made earlier this month during a phone call between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing's top trade negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The two sides last held major talks in July but there was no major breakthrough in the trade dispute between the world's top two economies. Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a series of escalating tit-for-tat tariffs for more than a year, sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump's initial demand for changes in China's trade, subsidy and intellectual property practices. China says U.S. trade policies are aimed at trying to stifle its ability to compete.

The situation has cast uncertainty on financial markets and left companies scrambling to cope with the effects of the tariffs.

President Trump announced last week that he was postponing a new round of tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from October 1 to October 15 "as a gesture of goodwill." China followed up by lifting tariffs on U.S. soybeans, pork and some other farm goods

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said last week he is "cautiously optimistic" a deal can be reached to resolve the trade dispute at the coming talks, but warned that Trump stands ready to keep, or even raise, tariffs on Chinese imports.

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