The US and Chinese governments appeared to have opened the door for a potential trade deal after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Vice Premier Liu He began talks on ending the trade war.
Mnuchin and He shared a telephone call on December 11 during which they “exchanged views on the implementation of the consensus on the meeting between the two heads of state and the promotion of the next economic and trade consultations”, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The announcement indicates that the trade war’s 90-day ceasefire appears to be holding, despite the fresh dispute over the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on December 1.
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Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver, Canada, at the request of US authorities. The US has accused Huawei, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile and internet technology, of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of sanctions.
The case has the potential to severely complicate the talks to end the trade war – the US has previously accused China of stealing American technology and forcing US companies to turn over trade secrets.
The tariff war began in April 2017 and has so far seen US $400 billion worth of tariffs being imposed on goods.
The latest US tariffs, worth $200 billion, were due to rise from 10% to 25% on Januar,y 1 2019, but this hike was called off as part of the truce.