China, US trade officials talk ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are expected to meet at the G20 Summit in Japan at the end of the week to discuss trade.

    A US official said that Trump views the meeting with Xi as a chance to see where Beijing stands on the two countries' trade war, and is 'comfortable with any outcome' [File: Jason Lee/Reuters]
    A US official said that Trump views the meeting with Xi as a chance to see where Beijing stands on the two countries' trade war, and is 'comfortable with any outcome' [File: Jason Lee/Reuters]

    Senior Chinese and US trade officials spoke by telephone on Monday ahead of talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump set for later this week, as the world's two largest economies remain locked in a tariff war.

    Trump and Xi are expected to meet on the second day of the Friday-Saturday Group of 20 summit in Japan, the first face-to-face meeting for China and the United States's leaders since trade talks broke off in May.

    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a phone conversation with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement posted to its website on Tuesday morning.

    During the call the Chinese and US officials exchanged opinions on trade in accordance with the instructions of the two countries' heads of state, and agreed to maintain communications, the statement said.

    China's official Xinhua News Agency said on Tuesday that the call took place at the request of US officials.

    A senior US official said on Monday that Trump views the meeting with Xi as a chance to see where Beijing stands on the two countries' trade war, and is "comfortable with any outcome."

    Last month, Trump more than doubled import tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent. He has also threatened to impose tariffs on another $325bn of goods, covering nearly all the remaining Chinese imports into the US, including consumer products such as mobile phones, computers and clothing.

    Beijing retaliated with increased tariffs on $60bn worth of US goods.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency