US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had a phone call with China’s chief trade war negotiator Liu He late last week, sources told the Wall Street Journal, during which the two sides sought to reduce tensions before the countries’ leaders meet in Buenos Aires at the end of the month.
The US side is demanding that China present concrete concessions before negotiations on the details of a trade deal can begin. Those in Beijing, however, are pushing for further talks before making any official proposal for fear of losing clout.
Friday’s conversation did not produce any major breakthroughs, but nevertheless signal an intent on both sides to make progress on a deal, the sources said.
According to the Journal, some hawkish US officials are pushing for a formal offer before the G20 leaders’ summit in Argentina, but would consider agreeing to a temporary cap on further tariffs while further negotiations go ahead.
Chinese officials reportedly do not expect to reach a deal at the G20, instead establishing wider parameters in which details can be negotiated down the line.