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China and United States made plans for consultations over trade in January

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Beijing. China and the United States have made plans for face-to-face consultations over trade in January, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday, as the world’s two biggest economies advanced efforts to resolve a months-long trade war.

Consultations through “intensive” telephone calls will continue in the meantime, Gao Feng, spokesman at the commerce ministry, told reporters, adding that talks have been steadily moving forward despite the Christmas break in the United States.

“Even as the U.S side is in the Christmas holiday period, China and U.S. economic and trade teams have been in close communication, and the consultations are progressing in an orderly manner as scheduled,” Gao said, when asked about progress on trade negotiations.

Gao did not comment directly when asked to confirm a media report on a U.S. trade delegation visit scheduled for the week of Jan. 7.

“The two sides have indeed made specific arrangements for face-to-face consultations in January in addition to continuing intensive telephone consultations,” he said, without elaborating.

U.S. and Chinese officials have spoken by phone in recent weeks, but a meeting next month would be the first in-person talks since U.S. President Donald Trump met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1.

Trump and Xi agreed to stop escalating tit-for-tat tariffs that have disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods between the two nations. The two leaders also agreed to launch new talks while the United States delayed a planned Jan. 1 tariff increase until March.

In response, China has resumed purchases of U.S. soybeans for the first time in six months, even though hefty tariffs on U.S. cargoes remain in place.

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