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China Agrees to Restart Trade Talks as White House Delays New Tariffs

President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

After several weeks in which negotiations over a potential trade deal between the world’s two largest economies had stalled, Chinese and U.S. officials spoke over the phone Tuesday, with China’s Ministry of Commerce announcing afterward that the two powers plan to speak again in the coming weeks.

“Both sides agree to talk again on the phone within two weeks,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

Chinese vice premier Liu He spoke Tuesday night with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, according to the statement. They were joined by Chinese commerce minister Zhong Shan and Central Bank governor Yi Gang.

News of the reignited negotiations came as Lighthizer’s office announced the U.S. will delay a planned 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports.

In May, the White House raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent, claiming Beijing had reneged on previously agreed terms of a trade deal. The U.S. also currently has a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese high-tech products.

China has hit back with tariffs of up to 25 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. products.

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