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U.S. and China meet for trade talks

16 August 2018

News of the meeting gave a lift to the yuan and helped cap losses in China's stock markets.

The visit is at the invitation of the United States, the ministry said in a short statement.

There have been no high-level talks between the two sides since July, but Hong Kong-based the South China Morning Post quoted officials as saying that that the two countries made unofficial contact late last month to explore the possibility of resuming talks.

"The main goal is to see whether both sides are really interested in having further dialogue".

China and the United States have implemented several rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs on each others goods since the start of the year and have threatened further tariffs on exports worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Another $16 billion in levies will be effective later in August.

Beijing has said it will retaliate in kind.

There was no immediate response from the US Treasury to the announcement from Beijing.

The talks, which will take place at a lower level than previously, are the first official attempt by the world's two largest economies to alleviate trade tensions that have been simmering since June.

The Commerce Ministry said Beijing "reiterates its opposition to unilateralism and trade protectionism and does not accept any unilateral trade restrictions". The invitation for talks may have been meant to steady markets, they said.

Providing Brent crude some support were looming US sanctions against Iran's oil exports, set to start from November, with Asian buyers including India, South Korea and Japan already scaling back orders. The move was in response to a threat from Washington to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 per cent from 10 per cent. Prices of Chinese farm goods fell amid hopes that supplies of United States soybeans, used to make cooking oil and animal feed, may resume if talks bring an end to the dispute.

"It is possible that China may stress to the USA that China will continue reform", he said.

U.S. and China meet for trade talks