China welcomes U.S. trade talks offer as new tariffs loom

Mae Love
September 14, 2018

President Donald Trump has criticized China's record trade surplus with the United States, and has demanded that Beijing cut it immediately, threatening further tariffs on an additional $200-billion worth of goods - and possibly more.

Christopher McNally, an adjunct senior fellow at the East-West Centre in Hawaii, said the Trump administration may seek a deal on the trade war before the elections, though he cautioned that the United States president could easily throw out any negotiated settlement if he felt it did not "help him politically or doesn't go far enough, doesn't make him look good enough". "If we meet, we meet". The White House has accused China of forcing USA companies to partner with local firms and then stealing their intellectual property, among other grievances.

"Even if all of the tariffs threatened by Trump on autos and China are imposed, those would amount to, at most, 0.8 percent of GDP, which would cause barely a ripple in growth, inflation or employment numbers", said Mr. Scott, senior economist at the think tank.

China welcomed the offer of talks and said the two countries were discussing the details, according to reports.

Mr Kudlow told Fox Business News on Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "has apparently issued an invitation".

The trade war has already contributed to sell-offs in China's stock markets and currency.

"American companies are suffering both from China's retaliatory tariffs, and - ironically - from USA tariffs created to harm the Chinese economy", the two chambers said in a statement. Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing.

The Trump administration is preparing to activate tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, hitting a broad array of internet technology products and consumer goods from handbags to bicycles to furniture.

They are already affecting companies, particularly the automobile industry, and hurting economies.

"I think the talks have the potential to be successful, but it depends on the approach that both countries take", she said.

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Americans don't notice the 25 percent duty on light trucks, known as the "chicken tax", that has been on the books since 1964, when President Johnson levied it in retaliation for France and West Germany's tariff on US chicken.

But he cautioned: "I guarantee nothing". "AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai urge both governments to return to the negotiating table".

China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against USA companies operating there.

Envoys from the two countries last met August 22 in Washington but reported no progress. A meeting among Cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world's two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.

The U.S. administration is readying a final list of $200 billion in Chinese imports on which it plans to levy tariffs of 10-25 percent in coming days, which would ramp up the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

China's Commerce Ministry said both sides would want to avoid escalation.

The timing and location of the proposed meeting were unclear, the sources familiar with the matter said.

The invitation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes amid a swelling chorus of opposition to tariffs from Western business circles.

A day earlier, more than 60 US industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public. -China Business Council, said this week Chinese officials told it they were postponing accepting license applications from American companies in financial services and other fields until relations improve.

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