China says plans made for US trade talks in January

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government said Thursday it has made plans with Washington for talks in January aimed at ending a tariff battle that threatens to depress global trade.

The two sides have “made specific arrangements for face-to-face meetings” and are talking by phone, said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng. Gao gave no details.

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 to postpone more tariff hikes for 90 days while their governments negotiate over U.S. complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

Trump agreed to postpone tariff hikes on $200 billion of Chinese imports planned for Jan. 1. Beijing responded by announcing a delay in a 25 percent duty on imported U.S. vehicles.

Preparations for talks have proceeded despite the Dec. 1 arrest in Canada of an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran.

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Companies and investors worry the dispute might depress global trade at a time of rising anxiety about signs economic growth might be slowing.

The two sides are maintaining “close communication,” said Gao.

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Chinese Ministry of Commerce (in Chinese): www.mofcom.gov.cn

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