Days after President Trump postponed trade talks with China and said he doesn’t want to speak with Beijing, the situation has reversed again with overnight news indicating that a resumption in talks could be “in the coming days,” reported Reuters.
“The two sides have agreed to hold a call in the coming days,” said Chinese spokesman Gao Feng on Thursday when asked by reporters about future talks.
The Trump administration was set to review trade purchases with the Chinese last weekend, but that fell through. By Tuesday, President Trump said he delayed the talks because he was displeased by China’s handling of the virus pandemic.
On Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said there were no planned high-level trade talks in the near term but said Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer remained in constant contact with Chinese counterparts about fulfilling purchase commitments under the phase one trade agreement.
China agreed to purchase $77 billion of US goods under the agreement this year, with more purchases that would total $200 billion next year. The deal, signed January 15, was viewed as a breakthrough between both countries following a two-year trade war.
However, China has so far failed to meet purchase commitments because of the virus pandemic. This has caused tensions between the world’s two largest economies to escalate through summer. Readers may recall, President Trump has been furious with Beijing for months over the virus and the lack of trade purchases:
China’s purchases under phase one agreement are way below targets.
The China-exposed Australian and New Zealand dollars clawed back some losses after the news restored some optimism of normalization in trade relations, even though global equity markets ignored the trade headline, focused on the Federal Reserve’s meeting Wednesday that highlighted doubts about a robust recovery in the world’s largest economy.