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UPDATE 1-China, U.S. to review trade deal, air other grievances on Aug. 15 - sources

Tue, 4th Aug 2020 23:46

(Recasts with new sourcing, details on U.S.-China trade deal)

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Senior U.S. and Chinese
officials will review the implementation of a Phase 1 trade deal
and likely air mutual grievances in an increasingly tense
relationship during an Aug. 15 videoconference, two people
familiar with the plans said.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice
Premier Liu He, the principal negotiators for the two countries,
will participate in the meeting, which is an initial semi-annual
review of the pact signed on Jan. 15 and activated a month
later.

The meeting plans were first reported by the Wall Street
Journal. The U.S. Trade Representative's office and the U.S.
Treasury did not respond to requests for comment.

Under the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January, China had
pledged to boost purchases of U.S. goods by some $200 billion
over 2017 levels, including agricultural and manufactured
products, energy and services.

But China, battered by the global coronavirus recession, is
far behind the pace needed to meet its first-year goal of a $77
billion increase. Imports of farm goods have been lower than the
2017 level, far behind the 50% increase needed to meet the 2020
target of $36.5 billion. Beijing has bought only 5%
of the energy products needed to meet the Phase 1 first year
goal of $25.3 billion

One of the people familiar with the plans said Chinese
officials hoped to discuss other issues beyond the Phase 1 trade
deal implementation.

"It's both the normal semi-annual review and also comes at a
time when the relationship continues to deteriorate. Naturally
there is much to discuss," the person said.

Trump has threatened to end the trade pact over China's
early handling of the coronavirus, which originated in the
Chinese city of Wuhan, and tensions have risen over U.S.
sanctions related to China's security crackdown on Hong Kong.

The latest irritant between the world's two largest
economies is Trump's threat to ban U.S. use of the Chinese-owned
video app TikTok unless it is sold to a non-Chinese buyer.

White House officials on Tuesday could not say how Trump's
suggestion that a portion of the proceeds of the sale --
potentially to U.S. software giant Microsoft -- should
go to the U.S. Treasury could be implemented.
(Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing
by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

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