Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives in Beijing for trade talks

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives in Beijing for trade talks

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's Vice Premier Liu He. "China-US trade negotiations have to dig up the two sides' greatest number of common interests, and can not be tilted toward unilateral US interests".

"To implement the consensus reached in Washington, the two sides have had good communication in various areas such as agriculture and energy, and have made positive and concrete progress while relevant details are yet to be confirmed by both sides", the statement said.

The world's two largest economies have been at loggerheads over trade and industrial practices for months with the talks under way in the Chinese capital the third formal round of negotiations.

"Reform and opening up and expanding domestic demand are China's national strategies".

Private sector analysts say that while Beijing is willing to compromise on its trade surplus, it will resist changes that might threaten plans to transform China into a global technology competitor.

Although the Chinese refused to agree to specific numerical targets that the Trump administration officials sought, the agreement to a broad framework to increase USA exports to China was enough to prompt Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to announce that a truce in the "trade war".

"Trump's strategy does no favors for the moderates like trade negotiator Liu He who are eager to take China down a more manageable path of market and financial reforms, and such reforms would indeed be good for USA commercial interests", said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of the law firm Perkins Coie and a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

Mr Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on a total of up to $US150 billion ($198 billion) of Chinese goods.

The American Embassy in Beijing didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The talks are focused on the crux of the potential summit - the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme. Moon said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks between the two Koreas in the lead-up to the summit.

Washington's negotiating stance in the trade talks with Beijing has shifted as Trump's team of hardliners and more mainstream advisors compete to push their views.

Ross was to have a dinner meeting with Vice-Premier Liu He at the guest house.

The statement gave few details on the talks, but it made clear that China would not deliver on commitments to buy more American goods if its exports are sanctioned.

Mnuchin had said on Saturday the USA wanted China to agree to structural change to its economy.

As the trade dispute threatened to blow up into a full scale "war", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came under fire from the European Union at the Group of Seven, or G7, meeting of finance leaders in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler.

On Saturday, Mattis said the Trump administration's recent decision to disinvite China from an upcoming naval exercise was an "initial response" to Beijing's aggressive activities.

China is maneuvering to take advantage of rebukes from US allies following the Trump administration's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico, and European Union. Mr Liu's delegation included China's central bank governor and commerce minister.

Meanwhile, G7 nations have hit out at the United States over its new steel and aluminium import tariffs.

That might alienate allies who share complaints about Chinese technology policy and a flood of low-cost steel, aluminium and other exports they say are the result of improper subsidies and hurt foreign competitors.

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