WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is still planning for a round of in-person talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in September after a constructive exchange this week between deputy-level negotiators, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday.
Kudlow also said trade talks underway between Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were yielding pretty good progress on agriculture and telecoms issues.
“The deputies’ call [with Chinese officials] was quite constructive and this may lead to a meeting of the principals here in Washington, D.C.,” Kudlow said, referring to a teleconference involving deputy-level officials on Wednesday.
He added that the deputies had agreed to another conference call and were working through some of the key issues to make recommendations to the principals.
“We are still planning for the Chinese team to come over here in September,” Kudlow said, declining to name a date.
The United States and China have been locked in a heated months-long trade dispute with tit-for-tat tariffs that have roiled markets and weighed on growth.
Earlier this month, Trump backed off a Sept. 1 deadline for imposing tariffs on thousands of Chinese imports and officials in Beijing and Washington announced renewed trade discussions.
But little progress has been seen after trade talks between the world’s top economies broke down in May. Some economists now fear the trade war with China could spur a U.S. recession, hurting Trump’s reelection chances in 2020.
Kudlow dismissed fears of a downturn, noting “We don’t anticipate anything but a solid strong economy.” He also called talks with Japan a “very good story.”
But Japan’s Motegi on Wednesday noted there were still gaps that needed to be filled before Tokyo and Washington could agree on a bilateral trade deal and that negotiations with his U.S. counterpart were “very tough.”
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Mohammad Zargham and David Lawder; Writing by David Lawder and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown)