China and the United States have reached a “consensus” on major issues in the trade conflict between the two economic superpowers. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce writes this in a statement after high-level telephone consultation.
The telephone conversation was attended by Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He, US Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. They agreed to hold further consultations on “remaining points”, which should lead to a partial trade agreement. The ministry did not provide precise details about the content of the interview.
Consultations on the so-called first phase of a Sino-US trade deal have been going on since October. Both camps have made concessions in this regard, including in the area of importing food products and intellectual property.
US President Donald Trump already spoke of a possible rapid agreement last week. He emphasized that in his eyes Beijing is much more interested in concluding a deal than he is.
However, if phase one of an agreement with the Chinese is not completed before December 15, Trump faces the choice of whether to introduce new import duties on that date. The president threatened to do that earlier. This concerns taxes of 15 percent on 160 billion dollars in goods imports from China.
The unrest in Hong Kong can also put pressure on the relationship between Beijing and Washington. The US Congress has adopted two legislative proposals expressing support for pro-democracy protesters in the autonomous Chinese region.