Beijing, Washington set next steps for trade talks

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone on Tuesday with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about key issues in their trade talks, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The officials set the next steps in their "working arrangements" for their talks, Xinhua said, without giving details.

The move was the latest in a string of China-US negotiations in recent months. Negotiators have been striving to implement the consensus reached in December by President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump.

Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said on Saturday that he "feels hopeful" about the prospects for the negotiations, as both negotiation teams are trying their best to turn the consensus reached between the countries' leaders into reality.

Tariff hikes do not help any party, Wang said at a news conference. The enforcement mechanism should be "two-way, fair and equal", he said.

During the seventh round of trade talks in February, China and the US made substantial progress on such issues as technology transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff barriers, the service industry, agriculture and exchange rates, according to an earlier Xinhua report.

China's central bank governor, Yi Gang, a member of the negotiating team in those talks, said the two countries have discussed the need to respect the "autonomy" of each other's monetary authorities and the need to follow the principle of market-determined exchange rates.

The two nations discussed the need to abide by previous commitments made at G20 summits not to engage in competitive depreciation and to communicate closely on currency issues, Yi told reporters on Sunday during the two sessions.

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