US, Chinese officials try to head off trade war

Clay Curtis
May 17, 2018

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead trade talks with China due to take place on Thursday (May 17) and Friday as the countries try to head off a trade war. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will also participate.

Mr Peter Navarro, who was seen as having a more dominant role with the departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn over trade issues, was left off the list, although the statement said, "Additional senior administration Officials will also participate". The two argued the team's internal dynamic and whether it was functioning adequately.

"We have not seen China's demands yet, which should be few in that previous U.S. Administrations have done so poorly in negotiating".

The unresolved feud has contributed the White House's uneven approach to its trade negotiations with China in recent days, as White House officials have given different, at time contradictory descriptions about what the discussions' aims and about what is and what isn't up for debate. "And his hope for this trip was to begin to address the trade imbalance, increasing demand of Chinese consumers for US products, as well as to begin to take steps on the structural reforms". The U.S. has very little to give, because it has given so much over the years.

He attended an initial round of talks two weeks ago in Beijing that amounted to presentations of lengthy trade demands by each side. Liu is now in Washington, D.C., for meetings and is expected to meet with White House officials Thursday and Friday. -China trade imbalance and other problems with the trading relationship. -China flights, a person familiar with the episode said.

Navarro, 68, who once published a book entitled "Death by China", has always been hostile to the country. He co-authored a 2011 book entitled "Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - a Global Call to Action", which focused on his perceptions of China's economic policies.

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The Trump administration slapped $50 billion tariff package targeting China over last month what it says are unfair trade practices, with 25 percent tariffs being leveled on imports of Chinese electronics, shoes, furniture and other goods.

But there have been signs China is seeking to add a number of unrelated measures to the trade talks, and Trump has shown a willingness to entertain them.

The lawmakers said the meeting did not address Trump's pledge on Sunday to help Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp get back in business after a Commerce Department ban cut off its supply of USA components. But with China pressing for relief, Trump agreed to help them out, hoping it would ease trade talks.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was excluded from the talks.

Liu's visit to Washington is meant to defuse the conflict.

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