Trump administration still negotiating China trade truce

Trump administration still negotiating China trade truce

A United States delegation led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held talks with Chinese negotiators in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday. Although China does not export much steel or aluminum directly to the US due to trade sanctions already in place, it views the USA metals tariffs as a roundabout attack on its market power.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the talks between Ross and Liu had made "positive and concrete progress", and had discussed agriculture and energy.

Private sector analysts say Beijing may be willing to trim its trade surplus, but it will resist changes that might threaten its plans to transform China into a global technology competitor.

"Agreements between China and the United States should be based on the premise of both sides moving in the same direction and not waging a trade war", the Chinese statement said.

"Reform and opening up and expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies".

"All economic and trade outcomes of the talks will not take effect if the U.S. side imposes any trade sanctions including raising tariffs", the statement said.

Trump also has threatened to raise tariffs on an additional US$100 billion of Chinese goods, but gave no indication this week whether that would go ahead.

He said Washington would use its move on Tuesday to slap punitive tariffs on Chinese imports as a bargaining chip.

There was no immediate comment or statement from the USA delegation or from Ross himself.

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Earlier, Mnuchin had pointed to a rocky road ahead for the USA, which is now embroiled in trade disputes on two fronts, after talking about Washington's China policy.

Liu, a Harvard-trained economist who is a trusted confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is China's chief negotiator in the trade dispute. But Chinese envoys promised after the last high-level meeting in Washington in mid-May to buy more American farm goods and energy products.

"It has been a tense and tough G7 - I would say it's been far more a G6 plus one than a G7", said Le Maire, who called the tariffs unjustified. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said then that the US tariffs were suspended and the trade war "on hold".

"If there are structural changes that allow our companies to compete fairly, by definition that will deal with the trade deficit alone", Mnuchin said Saturday, according to Bloomberg News.

After a three-day meeting of finance ministers from the G7 industrial nations that ended Saturday in Canada, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the us trade actions.

The visit comes as fears of an all-out global trade war intensified after the European Union, Canada and Mexico drew up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium tariffs that came into effect on Friday.

On Saturday, Mattis said the Trump administration's recent decision to disinvite China from an upcoming naval exercise was an "initial response" to Beijing's aggressive activities.

The US pressure over technology policy reflects growing American concern about China's status as a potential competitor and complaints Beijing improperly subsidises its fledgling industries and shields them from competition.

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