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China, US kick off 7th round of high-level trade talks in Washington

Xinhua
The Chinese delegation is headed by Vice Premier Liu He, who also came as the special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xinhua

China and the United States on Thursday morning kicked off in Washington a fresh round of high-level economic and trade talks.

The Chinese delegation is headed by Vice Premier Liu He, who also came as the special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping; while the US team includes Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Liu, Lighthizer and Mnuchin co-chaired the formal opening at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.

The Chinese attendees of the opening included Governor of the People's Bank of China Yi Gang, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, Deputy Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs and Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Jun, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen, as well as Cong Liang, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission.

On the US side, major officials attending the opening include Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, and Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy and director of the National Trade Council, among others.

The two-day talks, the seventh round since last February, came on the heels of the previous round held in Beijing from February 14 to 15, and the working-level consultations between the two sides that have started here on Tuesday.

Altogether, these discussions aim to resolve outstanding issues regarding the economic and trade relations of the worlds two largest economies, as negotiators of both sides have strived to beat a 90-day deadline that ends on March 1.

With the current round counted in, there have been three rounds of talks between the two sides in less than a month since the end of January, despite the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday in China and Washington's Birthday long weekend in the United States.

During the talks last week, the two sides reached consensus in principle on major issues and had specific discussions about a memorandum of understanding on bilateral economic and trade issues.

After months of escalating trade friction involving massive extra tariffs on imports from each other, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed on December 1 that the two countries should manage to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement within 90 days to break the impasse.

The trade standoff has had negative impacts on both economies and added much uncertainty to global markets and the world economy.

During a meeting with the US delegation last week, the Chinese president once again highlighted the role of cooperation in resolving the economic and trade differences and frictions, and urged negotiators of the two sides to "make persistent efforts" to reach a mutually beneficial deal.

"Cooperation is the best choice for both sides," Xi said, adding that "of course, there are principles in cooperation."

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