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U.S., China agree to renewed trade talks as Trump, Xi prepare for G20

By Nicholas Sakelaris
U.S., China agree to renewed trade talks as Trump, Xi prepare for G20
A woman buys food at an American restaurant in Beijing, China, on June 10. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will meet at the G20 summit in Japan later this week to discuss the ongoing trade conflict. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- Ahead of the G20 economic summit in Japan this week, the United States and China have agreed to officially resume trade negotiations with designs on ending a trade conflict that's now into its second year.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed to renewed talks by phone Monday with Vice-Premier Liu He, China's lead trade negotiator.

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Both sides exchanged views on economic and trade issues and agreed to continue communication, state-run Xinhua reported Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will meet at the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan. Their goal is to rebalance economic relations and end the bilateral conflict that's produced tariffs worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The Trump administration has proposed even more tariffs -- possibly worth $300 billion in Chinese goods -- if the conflict escalates further.

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"Even as trade frictions persist, he's got the opportunity to see where the Chinese side is since the talks last left off," a senior administration official told reporters Monday.

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Some experts say Trump and Xi could announce a cease-fire of sorts on the new tariffs and detail the resumption trade talks. Visits by Beijing officials to Washington, D.C., earlier this year did not produce any movement on the stalemate.

The U.S.-China feud has persisted since early 2018 and involves a number of disputes, including Beijing's alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property and the Trump administration's banishment of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

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The agreement to resume talks came the same day that Beijing urged the United States to cancel its ban on Chinese tech firms. The U.S. Commerce Department recently added five Chinese tech companies to a business blacklist.

The G20 summit, which begins Thursday, will include a number of world leaders. U.S. officials say a meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, however, does not seem likely.

Trump will also meet in Japan with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discuss rising tensions in the Middle East, which have resulted from attacks on several oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. A shootdown of a U.S. drone by Iranian forces has also aggravated the situation.

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Trump is also scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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