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China Trade Talks in DC to Focus on 'Rebalancing' Relationship

17 May 2018

The United States and China will resume trade talks on Thursday in a bid to avert a damaging tariff war, Reuters reports, citing senior Trump administration officials.

A long-standing rift between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the President's nationalist trade adviser Peter Navarro hit new levels on the sidelines of trade talks in Beijing earlier this month. The official confirmed that Navarro will be among those participating in the trade meetings this week.

The US and China have held talks to update the two countries' trading relationship.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He announced on Wednesday that China is actively looking to solve its recent trade disputes with the US.

Liu met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, many of whom do not support Trump's vow to impose tariffs on China if they don't change their approach to trade.

Brady and Hatch said the issue of ZTE didn't come up during Liu's meetings with lawmakers. Additionally, lawmakers took the Chinese to task for alleged transfers of U.S. intellectual property to Chinese firms. An administration official confirmed Mnuchin and Liu added one-on-one meetings to the schedule during the trip, but said no team meetings were scrapped as a result.

Close to 125 witnesses are scheduled to testify at the hearings, which conclude on Thursday, in a sign of the concern in the US business community over the administration's move.

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"They are certainly mindful of impending threats of tariffs", Neal said.

ZTE was fined $1.2 billion in March 2017 but last month it was prohibited from buying crucial U.S. parts after the commerce department found the company had lied multiple times and failed to take actions against employees responsible for sanctions violations on Iran and North Korea.

In Beijing, the commerce ministry said China hoped the two sides could resolve the trade frictions during the talks.

The U.S. -China trade talks in DC this week are a continuation of those Beijing-based trade meetings. "Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal", Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday. There has been no folding as the media would love people to believe.

Mnuchin and Navarro are both very close to President Trump, but have much different viewpoints on trade policy.

Meanwhile, Trump earlier on Wednesday denied caving to China over USA sanctions on the telecoms equipment maker ZTE.

The ban has caused ZTE to cease operations, and Trump on Sunday tweeted that he had instructed the Commerce Department to take steps that would restore ZTE's ability to operate. "The meetings haven't even started yet!"

China Trade Talks in DC to Focus on 'Rebalancing' Relationship