US, China hold constructive talks on trade

US and Chinese trade officials have held a "constructive" phone conversation, marking a new round of talks after the world's two largest economies agreed to a truce in a year-long trade war.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Minister Zhong Shan on Tuesday in a further effort to resolve outstanding trade disputes between the countries, a US official said in an emailed statement.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow later said the talks "went well" and were constructive.

He said the two sides were talking about a face-to-face meeting, but warned that there was not a magic way to reach what has so far been an elusive deal.

"There are no miracles here," Kudlow told reporters.

"There was headway last winter and spring, then it stopped. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off, but I don't know that yet."

Trade talks stalled in May after China backed away from commitments it had made to secure legal changes to its system, according to US officials.

Kudlow's comments suggested it was still unclear whether the two sides would resume work from the draft text agreed before that pull-back, as US officials want, or whether they will use a different starting point.

A face-to-face meeting between the two negotiating teams would be a good thing and could take place in Beijing, Kudlow said, but no details were available yet.

The negotiations picked up after a two-month hiatus, but a year since a tit-for-tat tariff battle began between the two countries. Washington wants Beijing to address what US officials see as decades of unfair and illegal trading practices.

The United States and China agreed during a Group of 20 nations summit in Japan last month to resume discussions, easing fears of an escalation.

After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20, US President Donald Trump agreed to suspend a new round of tariffs on $US300 billion worth of imported Chinese consumer goods while the two sides resumed negotiations.

Trump said then that China would restart large purchases of US agricultural commodities, and the United States would ease some export restrictions on Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies.

"President Xi is expected, we hope in return for our accommodations, to move immediately, quickly, while the talks are going on, on the agriculture (purchases)," Kudlow said on Tuesday at an event.

"That's very, very important."

He also said relaxed US government restrictions on Huawei could help the technology giant but would only be in place for a limited time.


YOUR SAY: Tell your MP what needs addressing in new survey

YOUR SAY: Tell your MP what needs addressing in new survey

Got problems with roads, jobs or education? One MP wants to hear about them in his...

All your news at the cost of a coffee

All your news at the cost of a coffee

Join more than 100,000 others who have already become subscribers

Rail Trail changes going ahead despite mixed results from users

premium_icon Rail Trail changes going ahead despite mixed results from...

Two surveys regarding a bikeway planned for the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail have...