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China and US to review trade deal on 15 August

05 August 2020

Senior officials from both countries will review the implementation of the Phase 1 trade deal during a 15 August video conference.

According to reporting in Reuters, two sources familiar with the matter believe that senior Chinese and US officials will likely use this opportunity to air mutual grievances as the diplomatic relationship between the two countries becomes increasingly tense.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the principal negotiators for the two countries, will participate in the meeting, an initial six-month review of the pact activated on 15 February

The meeting plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The US Trade Representative's office and the US Treasury did not respond to requests for comment.

Under the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January, China had pledged to boost purchases of US goods by some $200 billion over 2017 levels, including agricultural and manufactured products, energy and services.

But China, battered by the global coronavirus recession, is far behind the pace needed to meet its first-year goal of a $77 billion increase. Imports of farm goods have been lower than the 2017 level, far behind the 50 percent increase needed to meet the 2020 target of $36.5 billion.

Beijing has bought only 5 percent of the energy products needed to meet the Phase 1 first year goal of $25.3 billion

One of the people familiar with the plans said Chinese officials hoped to discuss other issues beyond the Phase 1 trade deal implementation.

"It's both the normal semi-annual review and also comes at a time when the relationship continues to deteriorate. Naturally there is much to discuss," the person said.

China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said on 4 August that there was always a plan for high-level consultations six months into the pact, but the two sides have remained in regular contact over the trade deal.

"If they do have such a meeting I guess it will be very positive," Cui told a virtual event sponsored by the Aspen Security Forum.

Trump has threatened to end the trade pact over China's handling of the coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, and tensions have risen over US sanctions related to China's security crackdown on Hong Kong.

Read more about this story here.



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