China says trade talks with US to take place in October

FILE - In this June 1, 2019, photo, file a man carries a paper bags containing toys purchased from the FAO Schwarz as people shop at the newly open FAO Schwarz toy store at the capital city's popular shopping mall in Beijing. Caught in the crossfire of a trade war, American businesses operating in the China say they’ve been hurt by the hostilities between the world’s two biggest economies and are facing increasingly unfair competition from Chinese firms. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. and Chinese envoys will meet in early October for talks aimed at ending a tariff war, later than initially planned, China’s Commerce Ministry announced Thursday.

The announcement came amid anxiety among companies and investors over last weekend’s new round of tariff hikes by both sides in a fight over trade and technology and a report that officials were struggling to agree on a schedule for talks, originally planned for this month.

Investors who worry the escalating battle will tip the global economy into recession are looking for progress from the negotiations and were dismayed at possible disruption.

The agreement came in a phone call conducted by the chief Chinese envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the ministry’s statement said.

Officials will “conduct conscientious consultations” in mid-September to prepare for the talks, it said. It gave no details but said the two sides wanted to create “favorable conditions.”

The Trump administration is pressing Beijing to roll back plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other industries.

The United States, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say those violate China’s market-opening commitments and are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over technology.

Beijing has agreed to narrow its politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States but is reluctant to give up development strategies it sees as a path to prosperity and global influence.

Talks broke down in May over how to enforce any agreement.

China insists President Donald Trump’s punitive tariffs must be lifted once a deal takes effect. Washington says at least some must stay to make sure Beijing carries out any promises.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume talks, but the last round in July in Shanghai ended with no indication of progress. Neither government has given any indication it is ready to break the deadlock by offering concessions.