During a phone call earlier in the week, China offered to make farm purchases from the United States ahead of trade talks with U.S. officials, two sources said.
They added that the Chinese peace offer could depend largely on whether the U.S. side will ease up export restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei and whether it will decide to postpone an increase of tariffs on $250 billion worth of products, set for October 1.
Another set of levies is scheduled to go into effect on December 15 on nearly all remaining imports from China, including common consumer goods. They could also be delayed depending on how negotiations go.
Trump has been under pressure lately to forego the idea of imposing tariffs on these goods that would hurt consumers.
Chinese officials are expected in Washington in the coming weeks to resume trade talks which are expected “to heat up,” said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, on Friday. The two sides are expecting to make “meaningful progress.”
Later this month deputy-level discussions are set to be held before a meeting by top officials in October.
“I don’t want to predict anything. I’m just saying it is a good thing that they’re coming here, and tempers are calmer now,” Kudlow said on CNBC on Friday. “We’re engaged in very important discussions across the board, whether it’s agriculture or IP or tech transfer or cloud or cyber-hacking or trade barriers.”
Kudlow described the call on Wednesday between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as “very well.” He further said that they “would love to go back to where we were in May” when negotiations between the two countries collapsed as China backtracked on commitments it had previously made.
President Trump has since then demanded that Beijing commit to purchasing more agricultural products, but China has suggested that was closely tied to U.S. treatment of Huawei, which has been blacklisted by the U.S. since May.