US invites China to trade talks as tariffs loom

WASHINGTON/SHANGHAI: The Trump administration has invited Chinese officials to restart trade talks, the White House’s top economic adviser said, as Washington prepares to further escalate the US-China trade war with tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Larry Kudlow, who heads the White House Economic Council, told Fox Business Network that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had sent an invitation to senior Chinese officials, but he declined to provide further details. “There’s some discussions and information that we received that the Chinese government – the top of the Chinese government wished to pursue talks,” Kudlow said. “And so, Secretary Mnuchin, who is the team leader with China, has apparently issued an invitation.”
Two people familiar with the effort said Mnuchin’s invitation was sent to his Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, for talks in coming weeks.
The invitation comes amid a swelling chorus of opposition to tariffs from Western business circles.
China said on Thursday that it welcomed an invitation by the United States to hold a new round of trade talks, as Washington prepares to further escalate the US-China trade war with tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters China had received the invitation and welcomed it, adding that the two countries were in discussion about the details.
“China has always held that an escalation of the trade conflict is not in anyone’s interests. In fact, from last month’s preliminary talks in Washington, the two sides’ trade talk teams have maintained various forms of contact, and held discussions on the concerns of each side,” he said.
On Thursday, the US business lobbies AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai published a joint survey showing that the negative impact on US companies in China of tit-for-tat tariffs Washington and Beijing have imposed on one another was “clear and far reaching”.
More than 60 per cent of US companies polled said the US tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar per centage said Chinese duties on US goods were having an impact on business.
AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai urged the Trump administration to re-think its approach.— Reuters