Trump pins hope on 'great financial team' on trade mission in China

Hannah Rogers
May 3, 2018

During the two-day visit, the United States team will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to try to resolve many economic and trade issues that have escalated during the recent months.

The delegation led by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would meet Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and other top officials to discuss mutual trade tariffs as well as China's unfair trade practices, the protection of intellectual property in China, and US' huge trade deficit with China, Efe news reported.

The mission including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is due to hold talks later Thursday and Friday with Chinese officials led by Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser.

"As long as the US is honest about maintaining the long-term stability of China-US economic and trade ties and comes to the negotiating table with mutual respect, equal-footed consultation and win-win results in mind, then we believe that the bilateral consultation would be constructive", the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying noted on Wednesday.

The negotiations have begun and still underway, she said.

The talks come after the recent trade tariffs imposed by Washington.

What's more likely is some Chinese measures that could stall the implementation of tariffs on about $50B worth of Chinese exports, trade experts say, including a phase-out of joint venture requirements for some sectors, auto tariff reductions and increased purchases of USA goods.

The tariffs are meant to punish China for policies the USA says make American companies give up their intellectual property to Chinese competitors.

Trump, while demanding China to reduce the USD 375 billion by USD 100 billion, retaliated with USD 50 billion tariffs on Chinese products.

Both US and China have announced imposition of tariffs on each others' imports although they are yet to be implemented.

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The immediate threat of tariffs obscures an escalating contest between the two countries over technology. "The Samsungs of the world, the TSMCs have a large head start", said Alexander Wolf, an economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

"In light of the economic volumes of the two countries and the complexity of bilateral ties, it is never very practical to imagine all problems being wiped out through one-time consultation", Hua added.

The U.S. wants greater access to China's market, but it should not use trade actions as a battering ram to force China to open its doors.

China's trade surplus with the USA a year ago rose to a record high.

Most of the team gathered at a hotel in central Beijing Thursday before heading to the U.S. embassy and on to talks at China's state guest house.

A China Daily report yesterday quoted a US-China Business Council (USCBC) report as saying that exports from the US to China grew faster past year than US export growth to the rest of the world.

He also said that China and the United States will always have a great relationship.

Companies like Huawei and ZTE are avidly pursuing advanced semiconductor technology, but experts say overall Chinese research and development spending is a fraction of the multibillion-dollar budgets of the big players.

US President Donald Trump tweeted shortly after the US delegation arrived in Beijing that he hoped to meet China's leader Xi Jinping in the near future, raising hopes that a consensus could be reached in the talks.

Nevertheless, diplomatic sources told dpa that the U.S. delegation doesn't bring a unified strategy to discussions that will span topics as varied as intellectual property theft, tariffs and technological innovation.

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