Senior Chinese and US officials have held a phone conversation about bilateral trade ahead of a meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, slated for later this week and amid a tariff war between the two countries.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had held a phone call with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday.
During the call, the two sides exchanged views on trade in accordance with the instructions of their countries’ presidents and agreed to maintain communications, the ministry added.
The presidents of China and the US are expected to meet on Saturday, the second and last day of the G20 summit in Japan, in the first face-to-face meeting between them since the collapse of trade negotiations in May.
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the call on Monday took place at the request of American officials.
A top American official said on the same day that Trump viewed his upcoming meeting with Xi as a chance to see where Beijing stood on the trade war between the two countries, adding that he would be “comfortable with any outcome” from the meeting.
China has said it does not approve of the trade standoff but is ready to fight as long as necessary
Trump initiated the trade war with China last year, when he first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the country. Since then, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than 360 billion dollars in two-way trade.
Beijing and Washington have held talks to settle the issue, but to no avail so far.