Trusted Xi aide joins team negotiating trade with US

China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan has been described as a hands-on and very knowledgeable trade official. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan has been described as a hands-on and very knowledgeable trade official. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Inclusion of Zhong Shan spooks some in Washington who see him as a hardliner

Trade negotiations between China and the United States resumed this week by phone - but the seemingly mundane step before a face-to-face meeting has raised some eyebrows.

Unlike before, when Vice-Premier Liu He was the chief negotiator in talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, this time he was joined in the conference call by Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2019, with the headline 'Trusted Xi aide joins team negotiating trade with US'. Print Edition | Subscribe