Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

US officials arrive in Beijing for trade talks

US officials arrive in Beijing for trade talks

The two countries were supposed to discuss trade relations last February during a visit from senior Chinese economic adviser Vice Premier Liu He, but the administration announced the new tariffs as Liu arrived in Washington.

The president has long complained of what he says are unfair Chinese policies contributing to a huge US trade deficit.

The US tariffs and an ensuing trade war would reduce the GDP of the United States by $2.9 billion and cost nearly 134,000 American jobs, says the report.

"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.

His administration has threatened to impose new tariffs on roughly $150 billion in Chinese goods - prompting China to announce its own tariffs on US goods.

"The outcome should be mutually beneficial and win-win", Hua said, speaking at a regular briefing.

China's unique political system and centralized leadership mean that it will have more endurance should a trade war break out, the official said.

Striking an adamant tone, the state-run Global Times newspaper said Thursday in a commentary that it's "our sovereign right to develop high-tech industry and it is connected to the quality of rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".

In doing so, China expected Washington to reciprocate and open its market to Chinese investment and competition, it said.

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"The U.S. delegation headed to Beijing is too large and unwieldly to accomplish much; it is a reflection of inter-agency rivalry on the U.S. side and this will produce more posturing than actual negotiations with the Chinese", the firm said.

Washington's moves, perceived by Beijing as an attempt to contain China's strategic ambitions in hi-tech, have not gone unnoticed.

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

But the rival views in Washington, reflected in the makeup of the USA team, could undermine the US negotiating stance, the consulting firm Eurasia Group said in a research note.

China, which denies it coerces technology transfers, has threatened retaliation in equal measure, including tariffs on US soybeans and aircraft.

"I am hopeful though that progress will be made during the visit, with the end game being a commercial relationship based on fairness and reciprocal treatment that will benefit the U.S. and like-minded trading partners, as well as China", Zarit said.

The official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary Wednesday that the USA should show sincerity in trade talks instead of making unreasonable demands.

But the diverse USA trade delegation is likely to have differing views among its members on the merits of such an offer.

The US delegation includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, White House economic advisers Peter Navarro, Larry Kudlow, Everett Eissenstat and ambassador Terry Branstad.

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