Vastavam web: U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up a round of trade talks on Wednesday without visible signs of progress and put off their next meeting until September, extending an uneasy truce between the world’s two largest economies for at least a month. With hopes for a quick trade agreement receding, both sides issued brief statements after the first face-to-face meetings since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in June called a ceasefire in the escalating trade war.
China and the United States also remain at odds over protests in Hong Kong and the contested South China Sea even as Trump puts more focus on his 2020 re-election bid. The White House and China’s Commerce Ministry each described the meetings in Shanghai as constructive but offered differing views about Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.
Lighthizer, Trump’s top trade official, is slated to meet with Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Washington on Thursday and Friday, with sources pointing to progress on a possible narrow agreement that would swap lower U.S. tariffs on auto components for better access for U.S agricultural sales. China’s Commerce Ministry said “both sides had a candid, highly effective, constructive and deep exchange on major trade and economic issues of mutual interest.” It said negotiators discussed more Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products, but did not say there was any agreement to buy more.
“We expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington in early September,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports.”
The U.S.-China trade war has disrupted global supply chains and shaken financial markets as each side has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods. The IMF has warned that the trade dispute will shave 0.2% off global output.