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China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday that a vice minister will travel to the U.S.at an unspecified date, at the invitation of the Treasury Department, to discuss trade issues.

News of the upcoming talks helped Chinese stocks stem losses.

Vice Minister to meet with US Treasury UnderSecretary Malpass.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the talks in Washington would take place on August 21 and 22, just before $16 billion in new USA tariffs on Chinese goods take effect, along with an equal amount of retaliatory tariffs from Beijing.

But the discussions failed to reduce tensions as the United States slapped tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods in early July, triggering an immediate dollar-for-dollar retaliation from Beijing.

The last round of talks was in early June. However, financial observers expressed skepticism that any tangible agreement will come from the meeting, citing that the U.S. Trade Representative was not involved and the talks will occur between lower-level officials. The SCI 300 Index was up 0.59 per cent by mid-morning, having fallen as much as 1.8 per cent shortly after open.

But less than 10 days later, the White House said it would push forward on planned tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports and press ahead with restrictions on investments by Chinese companies in the U.S.

Washington is due to impose tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods on August 23, and China has warned that it will retaliate to that move.

News of the meeting boosted the yuan and aided China's stock market, Reuters reported. Soybeans and other grains from the United States were hit with extra import tariffs last month, bringing trade nearly to a halt, as part of the tit-for-tat dispute between the world's two largest economies.