US treasury secretary to lead trade talks with China


The Trump administration has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports to punish Beijing over trade practices requiring American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

Liu is now in Washington for meetings and is expected to meet with White House officials Thursday and Friday.

According to Liu, a healthy China-US relationship is in the interests of both sides, who have a great deal in common.

The controversy comes as Trump appears increasingly open to smoothing over differences with China in an attempt to avert a trade war before the midterm elections. Liu concluded by saying that China values the role of the US Congress and is willing to strengthen its communication with the institution.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will lead the U.S. delegation in talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a second U.S. official said.

Peter Navarro, the White House trade and manufacturing adviser who has been a fierce China critic, will not be a principal player on the United States side, officials were quoted as saying.

Update: Navarro reportedly blew up at Mnuchin two weeks ago over the decision to participate in the China talks.

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Navarro was smiling after the steel and aluminum tariffs. "Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal", Trump said. Navarro, who is the voice of protectionist trade policies inside the Trump administration, grew frustrated with the direction Mnuchin was taking at the talks and was upset that other officials were getting shut out of meetings with the Chinese in favor of Mnuchin engaging in one-on-one talks with China's Vice Premier Liu He, the sources said. -China trading relationship, according to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. Additional senior Administration Officials will also participate.

The U.S. -China trade talks in DC this week are a continuation of those Beijing-based trade meetings.

The U.S. congressmen said that formal talks with the administration were due to begin on Thursday.

The talks will start as USTR finishes up public hearings on the first batch of U.S. tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods proposed as punishment for alleged violations of U.S. intellectual rights.

Accused by Democrats of going soft on China and national security, Trump lashed out at the media on Wednesday in a series of tweets, accusing CNN and The Washington Post of writing "false stories" about the trade negotiations, which he said, "haven't even started yet". For example, during the Beijing trip, Chinese officials pressed Mnuchin and others to relax restrictions on ZTE Corp., a controversial Chinese telecommunications company that has violated US law.

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. The administration has been adamant that they need to see "concrete" actions from the Chinese if they hope to avoid potential new USA tariffs on Chinese imports that would address China's unfair trade practices and stealing of intellectual property.