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Chinese trade talks team hints at broad agenda as October 15 tariffs deadline looms

Chinese trade talks team hints at broad agenda as October 15 tariffs deadline looms

Chinese trade talks team hints at broad agenda as October 15 tariffs deadline looms

China's Vice-Premier Liu He will lead a delegation of major economic officials for a new round of high-stakes trade talks with the United States in Washington on Thursday and Friday, with only days to go until further US tariffs apply to Chinese products on October 15.

The delegation includes officials from the commerce ministry, central bank, information technology ministry and agricultural ministry, reflecting the agenda to be discussed.

They will meet the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Chinese ministry of commerce said in a brief statement.

The Chinese delegation also includes Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People's Bank of China governor Yi Gang, National Development and Reform Commission vice-director Ning Jizhe, Vice-Minister of Finance Liao Min and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang, the ministry said.

Wang Zhijun, the Vice-Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Han Jun, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen are also in the group.

The new round of talks precedes the US' planned imposition of additional punitive tariffs on Chinese products next Tuesday.

It is expected that the two countries could reach a deal in principle on matters such as China's purchases of US goods, but that Beijing would not cave in to US pressure to enact profound structural reforms.

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials were growing hesitant to pursue a broad trade deal.

Trump said on Monday that trade talks with China could be impacted should anything "bad" happen in the handling of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

Addressing reporters at the White House, Trump offered no elaboration on what would constitute something "bad", but he called on Beijing to deal with the protests in a "peaceful" and "humane" manner.

"If anything happened bad, I think that would be a very bad thing for the (trade) negotiation," Trump said. "I think politically it would be very tough, maybe for us and maybe for some others and maybe for (Chinese President Xi Jinping)."

The president also denied media reports that he had promised Xi during a telephone call this year that he would remain silent on the protests in Hong Kong while trade negotiations were ongoing.

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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