The Trump administration has apparently changed its mind on one aspect of China talks

Tim O'Donnell

Within the "Phase 1" trade deal between the U.S. and China expected to be signed on Jan. 15 is a sub-agreement that would revive a format of semi-annual discussions between the two powers similar to those utilized by the Bush and Obama administrations, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The discussions, which will be led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and likely Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, are different from the next phase of the trade deal. They'll be more general in scope and reportedly a way for officials at all levels in both countries to bridge the gap and strengthen their relationships.

President Trump shut down similar plans earlier in his Oval Office tenure. But despite some tough rhetoric throughout the trade war, it looks like another sign (along with the first phase) that his administration is getting back in the negotiating mindset for the long haul. Indeed, the Journal notes the framework of the new agreement is similar in concept to the Strategic Economic Dialogue started by the George W. Bush administration, which was then broadened under the Obama administration. The Trump administration used to show little interest in continuing the legacy, but the revival appears to be right around the corner now.

Trump's former adviser Stephen Bannon wasn't pleased a dialogue-heavy initiative is coming back, arguing it's mere "window dressing," but Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's vice president, told the Journal a "structured process" is necessary for addressing "serious issues with China." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

More stories from theweek.com
The death of rock's master craftsman
Tom Steyer had a rough endorsement interview with The New York Times
Queen says royal family is 'entirely supportive' of Harry and Meghan after 'constructive discussions'