October 17, 2018 / 2:53 PM / in a month

UPDATE 1-Brief hiatus in U.S.-China trade talks, commerce secretary tells CNBC

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WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday trade negotiations with China appear to have taken a brief pause, and he damped expectations that the countries would make substantial progress toward an agreement at an upcoming G20 meeting.

“In any negotiation there are ups and downs, there are hiatuses, and there are much more active periods. So it appears as though we may be in something of a hiatus now,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

The Group of 20 industrialized nations will hold a summit in Argentina next month, and there has been some speculation that U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could meet about their current trade issues. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said no decision has been made for a meeting.

“Meetings of leaders at the G20 never get into huge amounts of detail. Those are meetings that are designed to be broad policy statements,” Ross said in the CNBC interview.

He added that many times leaders will talk on the perimeters of the larger summit sessions.

“Generally those are an hour or less in duration and you can’t do a multi-thousand page trade agreement in an hour,” he said.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Susan Thomas

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