Washington: The US government has reached out to Beijing to propose another round of trade talks after previous discussions ended without signs of progress, according to three people familiar with the matter. US equities rose on expectations the development could ease growing tensions.
Senior officials led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently extended the invitation to counterparts in China, including Vice Premier Liu He, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. The US proposed talks for coming weeks, saying they could occur in Washington or Beijing, according to the report.
The proposal may reduce bilateral tensions just days after President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on nearly all goods the US buys from China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average turned positive and emerging market assets rallied on the news.
The White House has sought to pressure Beijing to reduce its trade surplus with America and protect intellectual property rights of US companies. The Trump administration has already slapped duties on $50 billion of Chinese exports since July, which spurred immediate in-kind retaliation from Beijing. China has said it would be forced to retaliate to all of the US’s measures, fanning concerns that a trade war could dent the global economic outlook.
The latest round of bilateral talks was between US Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass and China’s Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen. The meeting, held last month in Washington, ended without either side pledging to ease up on tariffs.