U.S., China agree to semi-annual talks aimed at reforms, resolving disputes: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping shake hands after making joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

(Reuters) – The United States and China have agreed to hold semi-annual talks aimed at pushing for reforms in both countries and resolving disputes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

The negotiations will be announced on Jan. 15 as part of the signing of a Phase 1 trade deal between the U.S. and China, but will be separate from any second-phase trade negotiations, the Journal reported, adding the effort will be lead by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

The two sides have been undergoing a trade war for well over a year. Treasury officials were not immediately available to confirm the report.

The talks would revive a practice begun under former President George W. Bush as a way for the world’s two largest economic powers to discuss a wide array of topics and try to resolve disputes.

It was continued under President Barack Obama as the Strategic & Economic Dialogue, and initially followed by President Donald Trump. The first round of what the Trump administration renamed the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue was held in July, 2017.

But the regular sessions, sprawling affairs often criticized as heavy on process and light on tangible outcomes, were abandoned as the Trump administration moved towards a more confrontational approach to China that relied on the use of import tariffs to pressure the country into economic concessions.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles ELGOOD and Marguerita Choy

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