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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and top Chinese official are reportedly talking trade ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

Key Points
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice Premier Liu He have reportedly resumed discussions about a possible deal that would ease trade tensions. 
  • Mnuchin and He spoke via phone on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The US is demanding that China put forth an offer before negotiations on a trade deal can begin, while China would like discussion to begin before making a formal proposal.
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Sec. Mnuchin and Chinese official resume trade talks

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his counterpart Vice Premier Liu He have resumed discussions about a possible deal that would ease trade tensions, just weeks before President Trump and President Xi are set to meet in Argentina for the G20 summit.

Mnuchin and He spoke via phone on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the conversation. The US is demanding that China put forth an offer before negotiations on a trade deal can begin, while China would like discussion to begin before making a formal proposal.

Chinese officials are not expecting to come to an agreement during the G20 summit, but instead a framework followed by negotiations on the details, The Wall Street Journal said. At most, the US and China may be able to come to a ceasefire in their ongoing trade war, with the US not raising prices.

The US has put $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports. On Jan. 1, $200 billion of goods are set to increase to 25% from 10%. The US is also reportedly considering tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports, worth $257 billion, if an agreement is not reached at the G20. These new tariffs would be the US's final push to force concessions from China.

Read the full story in The Wall Street Journal

WATCH: This trade deal may be what Trump needs to take on China

VIDEO3:1703:17
This trade deal may be what Trump needs to take on China
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Trump and China's Xi to meet at G-20: Kudlow

Key Points
  • Any meeting between the two comes at a time of escalating tensions over trade.
  • Most recently, the Trump administration put tariffs on some $200 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on U.S. goods. 
  • The two nations have struggled to come to the negotiating table over trade, as the U.S. raises concerns about intellectual property and a widening trade deficit.