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China's Liu is still set to join US trade talks this week, a potentially positive sign for a deal

CNBC logo CNBC 5/7/2019 Jacob Pramuk

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019.© Provided by CNBC LLC President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to join a delegation in the United States this week, a potentially positive sign for efforts by the world's two largest economies to strike a trade agreement. 

Liu's presence could be telling: market watchers considered it more likely that the U.S. would hike tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10% if he did not attend the talks. 

The tariff increase will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, according to Lighthizer. But the U.S. would reconsider the duties if talks get back on track, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also told reporters. 

The Chinese team is set to come to Washington on Thursday and Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters on Monday. Talks continue, and the two sides are not cutting off discussions after President Donald Trump threatened to increase tariffs already placed on Chinese products and add new duties, the trade official said. 

Their comments follow a choppy day in both Asian and U.S. stock markets sparked by Trump's tweeted tariff threat. While U.S. equities initially plunged Monday, they recovered throughout the day as investors surmised that the president may not have upended the talks. CNBC previously reported that a Chinese team would still come to the U.S. this week for talks, although it may be smaller than originally planned.

U.S. officials said they saw a shift in tone in the talks over the weekend. Mnuchin said China wanted to go back on clear commitments that had the potential to change the deal significantly. 

Lighthizer described an "erosion of commitments" on the part of the Chinese. 

— CNBC's Stephanie Dhue contributed to this report

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