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US, China Could Resume Formal Trade Talks in Days

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks at an Opportunity Zone conference with State, local, tribal, and community leaders South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on the White House complex, April 17, 2019, ...

Speaking to VOA, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says top-level trade officials 'will be very involved now' in restarting discussions with their Chinese counterparts.

Formal trade talks between the United States and China are poised to resume days from now, a senior White House official told VOA on Wednesday.

"Those talks will continue in earnest this coming week, actually," said Larry Kudlow, National Economic Council director.

Asked by VOA if the discussions would be face to face, Kudlow replied in the affirmative, noting they would be led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with their respective staffs and trade principals.

"We will be very involved now," added Kudlow.

Asked if the Americans would travel to China or the Chinese would be visiting the U.S., Kudlow said, "I don't know yet."

U.S. President Donald Trump, following a lengthy Friday meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka on the sidelines of the G-20 leaders' summit, said that telephone discussions between trade officials of the two countries had already resumed and relations with Beijing were "right back on track."

The truce in the U.S.-China yearlong trade war meant Trump would not impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Xi, at the start of the meeting with Trump in Japan, said that "cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation."

The Chinese leader, however, failed to win relief from existing sanctions on $250 billion in goods — which it countered by placing punitive tariffs on $110 billion in American products.

"We will not lift tariffs during the talks," Kudlow cautioned Wednesday.

Referring to concessions made by the United States to China on telecommunications giant Huawei, Kudlow characterized the adjustment as one of having "slightly opened up the general merchandise applications for export licenses — not national security."

The U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday that as long as Huawei remained on the entity list, reviews of export licenses would "continue under the highest national security scrutiny," which is "the presumption of denial."

Kudlow said the Trump administration hoped Beijing would keep its side of the bargain by purchasing "a good many American imports — agriculture, agricultural services, maybe industrial, maybe energy."

The National Economic Council director reiterated that China's "unfair and frequently unlawful trading practices cannot be tolerated."

He specifically noted theft of intellectual property, technology transfers and cyberspace hacking.

"It's been a very unbalanced relationship," Kudlow said.