Published:  02:18 AM, 13 January 2020

US, China agreed to resume economic talks

US, China agreed to resume economic talks US President Donald Trump meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. -Reuters

The United States and China have agreed to resume semiannual talks on economic and trade issues, according to a published report. These discussions had been conducted in previous administrations but had been halted by the Trump administration.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the resumption of the talks, which were started in the George W. Bush administration and continued in the Obama administration, was set to be announced on Wednesday when the Trump administration signs a Phase One trade agreement with China in Washington, reports AP.

The newspaper said that the new talks would be separate from negotiations over a Phase Two trade deal, which will cover a number of contentious issues involving Chinese policies that the Trump administration contends are unfair trade practices but were not resolved in the Phase One negotiations.

Henry Paulson had started the US-China talks when he was Treasury secretary under George W. Bush with top officials from both countries meeting twice a year. The discussions were continued during all eight years of the Obama administration although the talks were reduced to just once a year.

When President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his administration halted the discussions, feeling they had failed to achieve significant results in tackling unfair Chinese trade practices and reducing America's huge trade deficits with China, the largest with any country.

The Trump administration instead launched more targeted trade negotiations, which ended up triggering a tit-for-tat trade war between the world's two biggest economies. Both countries imposed billions of dollars of tariffs on the other country's products.

Those tariffs raised uncertainties among businesses, slowed global economic growth and roiled financial markets. Both countries announced a Phase One agreement resolving some of the issues between in December as part of a cease-fire in the trade war.Administration officials said that the details of the Phase One deal would be released after the agreement is signed Wednesday.

US, China agree to semi-annual talks aimed at reforms, resolving disputesThe United States and China have agreed to restart semi-annual talks aimed at resolving economic disputes between the two countries, a process abandoned at the start of the Trump administration as a trade conflict between the countries escalated.

An official familiar with the deliberations said the resumption of the US China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue will be announced on Jan. 15 as part of the signing of a Phase 1 trade deal between the US and China, reports Reuters.
The restart of the meetings was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The regular meetings will provide a forum for steady, high-level conversation between the world's two largest economies separate from the sometimes rocky negotiations over their trade relationship.

The sessions will likely be lead by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.The two sides have been embroiled in a trade war for well over a year, with the use of import tariffs by both sides upending global supply chains and dealing a blow to business confidence.

The twice-yearly Strategic Economic Dialogue began under former President George W. Bush as a way for the world's two largest economic powers to manage the growing array of issues that arose between them as China's economy and its exports to the US expanded rapidly in the early 2000s.

It was continued under President Barack Obama and initially by President Donald Trump as well. The first round of what the Trump administration renamed the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue was held in July, 2017.

But the regular sessions, sprawling affairs often criticized as heavy on process and light on tangible outcomes, were abandoned as the Trump administration moved toward a more confrontational approach to China that relied on the use of tariffs to pressure the country into economic concessions.

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