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China welcomes United States trade talks offer as new tariffs loom

14 September 2018

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 US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

"We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us", Mr Trump said in a tweet on Thursday.

"At the same time, we do not believe that the current system is ideal and without flaws", he said. Mr. Trump threatened to increase that number by another $267 billion to bring the total tariffs to an amount equal to all of China's annual exports to the U.S. The administration already imposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods, slapped tariffs on aluminum (10 percent) and steel (25 percent), and raised duties on washing machines (up to 50 percent) and solar panels (up to 30 percent).

More companies say they will suffer if Trump goes ahead with his planned tariff hike and Beijing retaliates, according to the American Chambers of Commerce in China and in Shanghai.

"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.

Mr Kudlow told Fox Business News on Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "has apparently issued an invitation".

China's stock market slumped to a 31 month low on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing.

The Trump administration is preparing to activate tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, hitting a broad array of internet technology products and consumer goods from handbags to bicycles to furniture. "Every day, companies large and small are sharing their stories of the harm the tariffs and ensuing retaliation are causing across all sectors of the American economy".

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

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"I think most of us think it's better to talk than not to talk, and I think the Chinese government is willing to talk", he said.

But Kudlow was non-committal over the chances of a breakthrough, adding: "I guarantee nothing".

China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against US companies operating there. A meeting among Cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world's two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.

China's Commerce Ministry said both sides would want to avoid escalation.

The Journal reported that the USA reached out because of political pressure on Trump to ease up on trade fights ahead of November's midterm elections.

Some 63.6 percent of more than 430 companies that responded to the American chambers' survey said profits and customer demand have fallen due to the US tariffs and 62.5 percent said the same about retaliatory Chinese tariffs.

US business groups are escalating their fight against Trump's tariffs, with over 60 industry groups launching a coalition to put political pressure on the Trump administration to seek alternatives to tariffs.

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. -China Business Council, said this week Chinese officials told it they were postponing accepting license applications from American companies in financial services and other fields until relations improve.

China welcomes United States trade talks offer as new tariffs loom