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U.S. and China to hold trade talks in the coming days, Chinese commerce ministry says

Top negotiators from China and the United States at trade talks in Beijing on March 29, 2019.

Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. and China have agreed to go back to the negotiating table in the coming days to review the progress of their “phase one” trade deal, according to the Chinese commerce ministry.

Both sides will hold the “discussion over the phone,” the ministry said. It comes after talks scheduled for last Saturday were postponed due to a scheduling conflict, according to Reuters. 

Spokespersons for the U.S. Treasury and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative were not immediately available when contacted by CNBC.

The “phase one” trade deal, signed in January, paused a damaging trade war between the world’s two largest economies that involved retaliatory tariffs being slapped on billions of dollars worth of goods.

Among other things, the agreement committed China to buy at least $200 billion more in U.S. goods and services over two years on top of its purchases in 2017. But Beijing has fallen short so far, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic that hit Chinese demand.

In the first six months of this year, China’s purchase of the agreed products totaled less than a quarter of the amount targeted for the whole of 2020, data compiled by think tank Peterson Institute for International Economics showed.

The review of the trade deal comes as ties between the U.S. and China have deteriorated in recent months. Their disagreements have moved beyond trade into areas such as the origin of the coronavirus, national security concerns around Chinese tech firms and Hong Kong’s autonomy. 

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng and Lilian Wu contributed to this report.

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