China said it would strive to make substantial progress to resolve the trade war with the United States when the countries’ negotiators resume face-to-face talks in Washington in early October.  The Ministry of Commerce made the pledge after Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on the phone on Thursday. The ministry said both sides agreed to make concrete efforts to create positive conditions for continued dialogue.

“On the basis of full preparation by the working groups of both sides, efforts striving for substantive progress will be made in the 13th round of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations in early October,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng said. A separate announcement by the Office of the US Trade Representative said a deputy-level meeting would be held in mid-September to “lay the groundwork for meaningful progress”.

The talks are being planned as fears rise that the trade war and other factors such as Britain’s exit from the European Union could push the global economy into recession. China is expected to remain one of the world’s fastest growing economies but its growth is forecast to slow to less than 6 per cent next year, below Beijing’s 6-6.5 per cent growth target range for 2019 and despite Beijing efforts to offset the effects of the higher tariffs. Swiss investment bank UBS cut its 2020 growth estimate for China to just 5.5 per cent from the previous forecast of 5.8 per cent, with economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Oxford Economics’ head of Asia economics Louis Kuijs both trimming their estimates to 5.7 per cent. French bank BNP Paribas cut its forecast to 5.6 per cent.

SCMP

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