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China and the US had "constructive discussions" about the first trade agreement



US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (R) and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) welcome Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (C) as he arrives at trade talks at the US Trade Representative's Office on October 10 in Washington, DC

Saul Loeb | Getty Images

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Er spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday morning about a Phase 1

trade agreement on Chinese state media.

The two sides had Xinhua reported "constructive discussions" on "the core concerns of the other" and agreed to remain in close contact, according to Xinhua, at the request of Mnuchin and Lighthizer.

] The White House Economic Advisor, Larry Kudlow, said on Friday, Washington and Beijing were close to reaching an agreement.

"We are approaching each other," Kudlow said at a Council on Foreign Rela event in Washington. "The mood music is pretty good, and that's not always the case in those things."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on Friday after Kudlow's comments at record highs due to renewed optimism regarding trade talks.

There have been conflicting reports in recent days about the state of trade negotiations. The talks got into a stalemate this week as the US pushed Beijing for greater concessions on intellectual property rights and enforced technology transfer to lower tariffs, CNBC officials said Wednesday.

China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday tariffs should be canceled to end the trade war.

"If both sides reach agreement on the first phase, the amount of tariff reduction will fully reflect the importance of agreement on the first phase," said the Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng.

The White House is reportedly split over the idea of ​​tariff reduction, and President Donald Trump has publicly stated that he has not agreed to lift any levies.

Beijing, for its part, is reluctant to include a certain amount of agricultural purchases in a deal, the Wall Street Journal reported. Trump has claimed that Beijing has agreed to buy up to $ 50 billion worth of US agricultural commodities.

The US and China signed a ceasefire on tariffs on each other's goods last month following an escalating summer in which the world's two largest economies put billions of dollars into the war.


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