The White House is looking at rolling out a previously agreed currency pact with China as part of an early harvest deal that could also see a tariff increase next week suspended, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The currency accord, which the US said had been agreed to earlier this year before trade talks broke down, would be part of what the White House considers to be a first-phase agreement with Beijing.
It would be followed by more negotiations on core issues like intellectual property and forced technology transfers, the people said.
The internal deliberations come as a team of Chinese negotiators, led by Vice Premier Liu He, arrived in Washington to resume trade talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin starting yesterday.
It’s the first face-to-face talks between senior officials since July.
Liu He The offshore yuan rose more than 0.3%, erasing an earlier loss.
US stock futures whipsawed yesterday morning in Asia amid uncertainty about the outcome of the negotiations.
People familiar with the Chinese delegation’s arrangements said negotiators are currently scheduled to leave on Friday evening, though there could be changes depending on how the talks progress.
One person said there may also be a meeting with Trump that day, though again it would depend on how the talks go.
The signals heading into the talks have been mixed.
President Donald Trump last week approved licences for some American companies to sell nonsensitive goods to Huawei Technologies Co, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the move.
While Trump committed to the move after meeting President Xi Jinping in June, no licenses have been issued yet.
A Chinese official said Wednesday the country was still open to reaching a partial trade deal with the US that may include large purchases of American commodities, but added that success was contingent on President Donald Trump halting further tariffs.
Showing progress with a currency pact and other matters this week could serve as a reason to delay next week’s tariff hike. Bloomberg News last month reported the White House was discussing plans for an interim deal.
Still, Trump this week said he preferred a complete trade agreement with China. “My inclination is to get a big deal. We’ve come this far.
But I think that we’ll just have to see what happens.
I would much prefer a big deal. And I think that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. A White House spokesman declined to comment.
A Treasury spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
China’s Ministry of Commerce did not immediately respond to fax about the high-level talks.
Manipulation Label No details were made public about the US-China currency pact reached in February that Mnuchin at the time called the “strongest” ever.
Broader trade negotiations between the two countries broke down in May after the US accused China of backtracking on its commitments.
Then, in August, the Trump administration formally declared China a currency manipulator.
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