By Sarah McGregor and Jenny Leonard
Trade negotiators from the U.S. and China resumed face-to-face talks in Washington, as the Trump administration said a Chinese delegation will visit American farmlands next week.
Talks between a Chinese delegation led by Liao Min, a vice minister for finance, and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish began Thursday and are scheduled to continue Friday. The negotiations are expected to lay the ground-work for top-level negotiations between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice Premier Liu He in October in Washington. An exact date for that meeting hasn’t been released.
The burst of diplomacy follows two months of ratcheting up of the trade war after senior officials last met in Shanghai in late July. Frustrated by the lack of progress after that meeting, President Donald Trump announced an increase in planned tariffs on an additional batch of $300 billion of Chinese goods to 15% from 10%, which he began imposing on Sept. 1. Tariffs on some goods was delayed to Dec. 15.
Trump later announced a two-week delay on increasing existing tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods to 30% from 25%, which is now set for Oct. 15.
China has targeted U.S. exports including agriculture products with retaliatory tariffs, hitting farmers who are also dealing with unpredictable weather and low commodity prices.
U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday that Chinese officials will visit American farms next week as part of efforts to “build goodwill.”
Perdue added that he didn’t have any further details about the trip, and that he doesn’t know if Beijing plans to make an announcement about additional purchases of U.S. farm goods during the visit.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday reiterated the Trump administration is pressing for a deal that commits Beijing to a wide range of deep economic reforms.
“What we need is to correct the big imbalances, not just the current trade deficit, but also the structural imbalances, the impediments to market access, disrespect for intellectual property, forced technology transfers,” Ross said in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “So it’s more complicated than just buying a few more soybeans.”