U.S. Trade Chief to Hold First Talks With Chinese Counterpart

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U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is expected to hold her first discussions with her Chinese counterpart this week, according to people familiar with the planning.

Tai is scheduled to speak to officials from Beijing as early as Wednesday evening U.S. time, the people said, while noting that the timing is still fluid. A staff-level phone call took place Tuesday night Washington time, one of the people said. During the call, the Chinese stressed the importance of tariff rollbacks as a necessary component of next steps in the relationship, the person said.

U.S. Trade Chief to Hold First Talks With Chinese Counterpart

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Tai would speak to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He -- who served as the USTR counterpart during the tenure of former trade chief Robert Lighthizer -- or a different senior official.

The U.S. and China signed a partial trade deal in January 2020. Under the agreement’s Trade Framework Group, the USTR and the Chinese counterpart are due to meet every six months to discuss implementation of the deal.

A USTR spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Tai has said she expects China to live up to the commitments it made in the trade deal reached under the Trump administration and that President Joe Biden’s government is focused on enforcing existing trade agreements and rules.

U.S. Trade Chief to Hold First Talks With Chinese Counterpart

The Biden administration so far has left in place tariffs affecting billions of dollars in trade that were imposed under President Donald Trump. Tai has pledged to build on the January 2020 trade pact, saying on May 5 that she respects the continuity of U.S. policy.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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