BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Thursday a delegation would attend the next round of trade talks with U.S. counterparts in Washington later this month, in the latest bid to defuse a conflict that has set world markets on edge.
A Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen will hold talks with U.S. representatives led by Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website.
China and the United States have implemented several rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs on each others goods since the start of the year and have threatened further tariffs on exports worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
The announcement by the Chinese commerce ministry of the planned meeting in late August comes after a lull in talks between the two sides. The last official round of talks was in early June when U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing.
There was no immediate response from the U.S. Treasury to the announcement from Beijing.
While Liu and Ross had also been involved in the four previous rounds, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin absence from the coming round rendered it a lower-level meeting.
Having made little progress in the previous meetings, the White House said on Aug. 3 that the United States is open to further talks with China on how to resolve the festering trade dispute.
News of the talks boosted China’s yuan currency and its stock markets, which have been hit hard by negative sentiment related to the trade war and a slowing domestic economy.
The offshore Chinese yuan CNH=D3 rose briefly on the news against the dollar, strengthening to a high of 6.9165 before paring gains.
Chinese stocks also reversed losses Thursday morning after the announcement of further trade talks. The SCI 300 Index .CSI000300 was up 0.59 percent by mid-morning, having fallen as much as 1.8 percent shortly after open.
U.S. futures also gained, as Dow e-minis 1YMc1 gained 0.45 percent on the news.
Easing trade tensions helped lift Chinese copper futures SCFcv1 off 14-month lows. Worries about damage to the global economy from the dispute have hurt prices, which hit their lowest since June 2017 overnight.
Prices of Chinese farm goods fell amid hopes that supplies of U.S. soybeans, used to make cooking oil and animal feed, may resume if talks bring an end to the dispute.
Unless there is some breakthrough the United States and China are preparing to a next round of retaliatory levies, having implemented tariffs on $34 billion of each other’s exports on July 6.
Washington is due to activate additional tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods on Aug. 23, and Beijing has said it will respond in kind.
Separately, China has said it is prepared to put additional tariffs on 5,207 goods imported from the United States with a total value of $60 billion, ranging from liquefied natural gas to some aircraft.
The move was in response to a threat from Washington to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent.
Prices of Chinese farm goods fell amid hopes that supplies of U.S. soybeans, used to make cooking oil and animal feed, may resume if talks bring an end to the dispute. Soybeans and other grains from the United States were hit with extra import tariffs last month, bringing trade almost to a halt, as part of the tit-for-tat dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
Reporting by Elias Glenn and Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
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