By Lingling Wei in New York and Bob Davis in Washington 

The U.S. and China have agreed to high-level talks on Aug. 15 to assess Beijing's compliance with the bilateral trade agreement signed early this year, according to people briefed on the matter.

The trade pact has emerged as one of the few remaining avenues for the two countries to engage on matters of mutual concern. Relations have deteriorated in recent months, with the Trump administration hammering Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong and the treatment of Uighurs in western China.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping's point man on economic policies, will participate in the talks, likely via videoconference, the people said.

The focus will be on the so-called phase-one deal, which includes China's commitment to boost its U.S. imports by $200 billion over two years. So far, China has fallen well short of the pace needed to reach the target, even though it has increased purchases of American soybeans, pork, corn and other farm products in recent months.

Mr. Liu -- the lead Chinese negotiator whose portfolio includes oversight over China's technology sector -- is also expected to raise concerns about the U.S. crackdown on Chinese tech companies, the people said.

"He would want to discuss how the U.S. can work toward not surprising the Chinese with daily policy actions," one of them said.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office declined immediate comment. The Chinese embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since the trade pact was signed in January, with Mr. Trump repeatedly blaming China for the global spread of the coronavirus.

Beijing has hit back at the American actions with both increasingly hawkish rhetorics and actions. It immediately retaliated against Washington's sudden shutdown of the Chinese consulate in Houston by closing the U.S. consulate in the western city of Chengdu.

Write to Lingling Wei at and Bob Davis at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 04, 2020 16:58 ET (20:58 GMT)

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