US President Donald Trump said that US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had a very good talk with his Chinese counterpart, amid signals from China that officials could soon meet face-to-face in their bid to end a yearlong trade war. Officials from the world’s two largest economies spoke by phone, and Mnuchin said in-person talks could follow.
Secretary Mnuchin did have a call with the Chinese counterpart. They had a very good talk, Trump told reporters at the White House, suggesting that China’s worst economic output data in nearly three decades could propel trade talks forward. We’re dealing with China… they’re not doing very well. They had the worst year they’ve had in 27 years. We’re having the best year we ever had,” he said. “Let’s see what happens.
Chinese data last week showed industrial output and retail data beat expectations, but overall figures showed the country’s economic growth slowed to 6.2 per cent from a year earlier, the weakest pace in at least 27 years. Hu Xijin, editor in chief of China’s Global Times newspaper, tweeted that an in-person meeting could soon follow.
Briefing of the Chinese side on phone talks between Chinese and US trade officials shows face-to-face consultation will not be far away. I think we can expect that some actions may happen, which would be seen as goodwill from each other, Hu said.
The Chinese embassy in Washington and the US Trade Representative’s office had no immediate comment on a possible in-person meeting.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan spoke by phone on Thursday with Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer regarding “further consultations, as well as the implementation of Presidential consensus reached in Osaka”, the Chinese embassy wrote on Twitter.