China and US discuss trade talks timetable

Top officials from world's two largest economies discuss plan for next stage of their trade negotiations.

    Global markets are nervous about a collision between the world's two largest economies [Vincent Yu/AP]
    Global markets are nervous about a collision between the world's two largest economies [Vincent Yu/AP]

    Senior Chinese and American negotiators have held telephone talks to discuss the plan for the next stage of their trade discussions, according to China's government.

    Vice Premier Liu He spoke with United States' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday 10 days after Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a truce that delayed a planned January 1 increase of tariffs by Washington from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200bn of Chinese goods.

    A 90-day deadline was set to reach an agreement, but no date has been announced for the next round of talks and tensions have risen anew following the arrest of a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei by Canada at the behest of the US.

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    In a brief statement, the Chinese commerce ministry said Liu had spoken with Mnuchin and Lighthizer on a pre-arranged telephone call.

    "Both sides exchanged views on putting into effect the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders at their meeting, and pushing forward the timetable and roadmap for the next stage of economic and trade consultations work," the ministry said, without elaborating.

    Global markets are jittery about a collision between the world's two largest economic powers over China's huge trade surplus with the US and the latter's claims that Beijing is stealing intellectual property and technology.

    On Tuesday, Asian equities struggled again despite a bounce in New York as investors fret over a perfect storm of issues, including fears that the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, in Canada could further inflame the China-US trade dispute.

    Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. This year, it dethroned Apple as the world's second largest smartphone maker.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies