China’s top trade official has invited U.S. negotiators to take part in a fresh round of face-to-face talks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
During a phone call thought to have been made late last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing to sit down for further negotiations.
It was not clear whether U.S. negotiators had accepted Liu’s invitation. However, the Wall Street Journal’s report said that U.S. trade officials were willing to meet with their Chinese counterparts.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Thursday morning.
The report comes shortly after U.S. legislation on Hong Kong had threatened to derail trade discussions between the world’s two largest economies. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong. It prompted Beijing to accuse the U.S. of interfering in domestic affairs.
Trade talks in Washington involving Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (from right), U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and other Trump administration officials sit down with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (from left), Central Bank Governor Yi Gang (2nd left) and other Chinese vice ministers and senior officials on Jan. 30, 2019.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Separately, trade experts and people close to the President Donald Trump administration suggested that the completion of a limited trade agreement could be pushed into 2020, according to Reuters.
The U.S. and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.
Read more on the WSJ website here.