China and US agree to meet in October for trade negotiations

BEIJING — China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that the leaders of the U.S. and Chinese trade talks held a phone call in the morning and agreed to meet in early October for another round of negotiations.

Liu He, China's top negotiator on trade, spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Commerce Ministry statement said, according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese-language text.

In a statement to CNBC, a U.S. Trade Representative spokesperson confirmed the phone call, but not the October meeting.

Beijing said the two sides agreed to hold another round of trade negotiations in Washington, D.C. — at the beginning of next month, and consultations will be made in mid-September in preparation for the meeting, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.

"Both sides agreed they should work together and take practical actions to create favorable conditions for the negotiations," according to a CNBC translation of the ministry's statement.

However, the USTR spokesperson only acknowledged that both countries "agreed to hold meetings at the ministerial level in Washington in the coming weeks" and that deputy-level meetings would take place in mid-September "to lay the ground work for meaningful progress."

Previously, both sides had indicated they would meet in September. However, trade tensions between the world's two largest economies escalated in the last several weeks. The latest round of retaliatory tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods from each country took effect on Sunday.

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang and Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of China's top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, also joined the call, according to the statement.

— CNBC's Eamon Javers contributed to this report.

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