Xi Jinping’s Top Economic Aide to Visit U.S. for Trade Talks This Month – The Wall Street Journal

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Hamburg, Germany, in November 2018.


Christian Charisius/Zuma Press

BEIJING—China and the U.S. are moving ahead with plans to hold a round of higher-level talks to resolve their continuing trade conflict, with President Xi Jinping’s economic-policy captain scheduled to visit Washington in late January.

For now, Vice Premier Liu He is planning to meet with his U.S. counterparts including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for negotiations on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, according to people briefed on the matter. These people caution that the plan could be delayed by the partial U.S. government shutdown.

The next round of talks would follow midlevel trade talks held in Beijing from Monday to Wednesday this week. Negotiators from both sides, led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen covered a range of issues including more Chinese purchases of U.S. products, further opening of China’s markets to U.S. businesses, better protection of American intellectual property, and a reduction in Chinese subsidies to domestic firms.

U.S. negotiators also pressed Beijing to devise ways to ensure that it will make good on its promises. U.S. officials have complained about Beijing’s poor follow-up record in the past, noting that barriers for foreign businesses in China have actually increased over the years.

The people briefed on the matter described the three days of negotiations as cordial and said both sides made progress on issues related to purchases of American goods and services and greater market access. But no breakthrough was achieved in addressing more challenging issues, such as a reduction in Chinese subsidies, these people said.

Both Washington and Beijing had exchanged the dates for Mr. Liu’s visit before this week’s talks, the people said. The two sides believe that they’re making enough progress for the next round of talks to go ahead, the people said.

The negotiations are part of a temporary trade truce reached by Messrs. Trump and Xi during their meeting in Argentina on Dec. 1. Under that agreement, the U.S. suspended planned tariff increases on $200 billion of Chinese goods until March 1.

If a full trade deal isn’t concluded by then, the Trump administration has said it would increase those tariffs to 25% from the current 10%, a move that Chinese officials say could severely hurt China’s already-weakening growth.

Write to Lingling Wei at

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