China, US look to diffuse trade conflict; talks slated late August

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 16, 2018

US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping arrive at a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Thursday.

Trade talks will be held late August.

Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, the deputy representative on worldwide trade negotiations, will meet with a senior U.S. treasury official, David Malpass, at the invitation of the United States, the ministry said in a statement.

A senior Chinese delegation will visit the United States for trade talks later this month, the Commerce Ministry announced on Thursday.

China's commerce ministry reiteratedthat Beijing opposed trade protectionism and would not accept any unilateral trade restrictions.

China and the United States have retaliated back and forth with tit-for-tat tariffs and have threatened further tariffs on exports worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

This month's meeting would be the first between senior US and Chinese officials since June 3 talks in Beijing between Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Vice Premier Liu He ended with no settlement.

While Mr Liu and Mr Ross had also been involved in the four previous rounds, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's absence from the coming round rendered it a lower-level meeting.

Washington slapped 25% tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods in early July, leading Beijing to respond with similar levies, and further tariffs on $16bn of Chinese goods are due to come into effect on 23 August.

There was no immediate response from the US Treasury to the announcement from Beijing.

"It is hard to tell how the talks will go but it's a positive signal that the two countries are looking for some compromise plan", said Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. The Trump administration started to impose last July 6 tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports.

"This looks like it will be a waste of time for the two govts (esp China's).Who thinks US Treasury Dept is empowered to make THE deal to end the trade war?", Scott Kennedy, deputy director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote on Twitter.

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