China will not 'surrender' to US demands in trade talks: State paper

China TradeMore

China TradeMore

Talk might be cheap, but it is certainly better than another round of multi-billion-dollar tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China.

The Trump administration has invited Chinese officials to hold a new round of trade talks, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday.

"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.

Washington has offered to restart negotiations with Beijing as the trade war escalates, a move analysts say reflects pressure on the White House ahead of critical midterm elections and a weaker Chinese negotiating position as its economy slows.

"With the $200 billion round of tariffs looming, this is probably the best time for the U.S. to go back to the table with a "take it or leave it" type of trade demand", Robert Carnell, the chief Asia-Pacific economist at investment bank ING, said in a note.

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, with the time and the venue still to be agreed.

The invitation comes amid a swelling chorus of opposition to tariffs from Western business circles.

News of the invite comes as it emerged Thursday that U.S. firms in China are beginning to feel the pinch of tariffs already imposed on the Asian giant.

More than 60 per cent of USA companies polled said the U.S. tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on United States goods were having an impact on business.

Eric Zheng, chairman of AmCham Shanghai, said he supported the administration's goal to push Beijing into overhauling trade practices Trump considers unfair.

A day earlier, more than 60 US industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public.

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Roughly three-in-four firms surveyed said duties on an additional $200-billion worth of Chinese goods would hurt business further, and close to 70 per cent said additional retaliatory Chinese tariffs would be bad for business. It was unclear whether any US-China talks would delay the duties.

The announcement followed reports by American and European chambers of commerce that foreign companies in China have been hurt by earlier tariff hikes by both sides in the fight over Beijing's technology policy.

"I can't give you many details because there aren't many details".

But he cautioned: "I guarantee nothing".

Yu Zhi, an global trade specialist at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, urged Beijing to resolve Washington's fundamental and long-standing problems with its trade practices in any negotiations that take place to avoid further expanding the trade war.

However, the last round of talks, between mid-level USA and Chinese officials in August, failed to reach any agreement.

A U.S. Treasury spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

The tweet appeared aimed at a Wall Street Journal report about Mr. Mnuchin's invitation.

The US and China have slapped tariffs on $50bn of one another's goods this year in an escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies.

So far, the two economic superpowers have imposed tariffs of 25% on more than $50 billion of each other's exports.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week said that in addition to preparing tariffs on another $200 billion worth of goods, he had tariffs on another $267 billion worth of goods "ready to on short notice if I want".

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