China announced that its trade negotiators will travel to Washington early next month for talks with U.S. counterparts, boosting the chances for a resolution to the tariff war after weeks of uncertainty and escalation.
Vice Premier Liu He agreed to the visit in a phone call on Thursday morning Beijing time with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to a statement from China’s commerce ministry. Lower-level officials will have “serious” discussions this month to prepare for the talks, which had originally been expected to take place in September.
The prospect of talks may raise hope of some progress in the more than year-long trade war, though clear differences between the two sides on the substantive issues remain. Both sides raised tariffs on Sept. 1 in the latest round of retaliation, the U.S. plans to add more tariffs on Oct. 1., and then both nations will increase them again on Dec. 15 unless there is some breakthrough.
S&P 500 Index futures climbed on the news, gaining 0.7%. The offshore yuan advanced, while havens such as the yen and gold declined.
Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang and Ning Jizhe, the deputy head of the economic planning commission, were also on the call, the statement said.