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Phase One Trade Agreement May be Heading to 2020

U.S. legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters didn’t stop China’s trade chief from making a phone call recently to invite U.S. negotiators to a new round of trade talks.

The Wall Street Journal says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were invited to Beijing for more face-to-face trade negotiations.

While it wasn’t immediately clear if U.S. officials said yes to the invitation, the Wall Street Journal says U.S. trade officials were willing to meet with their Chinese counterparts.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office has yet to respond to requests for comment. The report on the Chinese invitation comes shortly after U.S. legislation on Hong Kong had threatened to push trade talks between the world’s biggest economies off track.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills intended to show support for protesters in Hong Kong. Beijing then accused the U.S. of interfering in its domestic affairs.

Trade experts and people close to the Trump Administration say the limited trade agreement could be pushed into next year, news which is not good for U.S. agriculture. The U.S. and China have both imposed tariffs totaling billions of dollars on each other’s goods.