(From L) US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Chinese Vice Premier and lead trade negotiator Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talk before the opening session of trade negotiations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on February 14, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein / POOL / AFP
 
Chinese and American trade negotiators spoke on the phone on Tuesday, state media reported, two weeks after US President Donald Trump ratcheted up tensions by announcing fresh tariffs on Beijing’s exports.
China’s chief negotiator Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan spoke with their US counterparts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the Xinhua news agency said, adding that Beijing issued “a solemn protest” against the punitive duties set to come into effect on September 1.
The report emerged as the US announced it would delay imposing the 10 per cent tariffs on Chinese electronics until December 15, but would proceed with the new duties on other goods.
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As Washington and Beijing work to resolve the escalating trade war, Lighthizer and Liu have scheduled another call in two weeks, a USTR official told AFP.
The two sides were due to hold another round of meetings in Washington in September, but the deterioration in relations in the past two weeks cast doubt on whether the talks would take place.
The latest tariffs, which Trump announced on August 1, mean all Chinese imports into the United States would be subject to additional duties.

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