China’s top economic adviser visits US in attempt to smooth trade tensions

Global Business

China’s top economic adviser visits US in attempt to smooth trade tensions

China’s top economic adviser Liu He is in Washington, in an attempt to smooth trade tensions between the two countries.

Liu’s visit comes as China warned it would take action against U.S. moves to impose stiff duties on Chinese aluminum products.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

A trusted economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Liu is said to have his finger on China’s economic pulse. That may explain why Beijing has sent him to Washington.

Liu visit comes amid a cross-Pacific trade spat that has been quickly escalating. In December, U.S. President Donald Trump labeled China a “strategic competitor.”

This week, his Commerce Department announced anti-dumping tariffs of 49-106 percent on U.S. imports of Chinese aluminum foil. Additional duties will be applied for what the U.S. says are “unfair subsidies” received by Chinese producers. It’s a significant sector, with U.S. aluminum foil imports worth nearly $400 million a year.

Wang Hejun, head of Trade Remedy at MOFCOM (China’s Minister of Commerce) said, in response, that “the United States ignored rules of the World Trade Organization and seriously damaged the interests of Chinese aluminum foil exporters.”

Wang’s ministry has vowed to protect Chinese trade interests. This, as China agreed this week to remove its own anti-dumping duties on American broiler chickens. The decision to drop them followed a WTO ruling against Beijing.

These are just some of the issues that form the backdrop for Liu’s visit, as he meets with the Trump administration’s top trade officials. That includes, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, economic adviser Gary Cohn and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. It’s unclear if Liu will meet with Peter Navarro, a China critic who was sidelined last year by more moderate voices in the White House. Navarro is widely reported to be on his way back, with a new title: Assistant to the President. In that capacity, it is expected Navarro will help guide President Trump on his trade policy toward Beijing.

The Trump administration said it is just cracking down on unfair trade practices. Officials noted they don’t want a trade war with China. Liu He’s visit may be their best chance at stopping one.

Chen Zhao talks abou Liu He’s visit to Washington DC to discuss trade topics

CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Chen Zhao, chief global strategist at Alpine Macro, about the importance of Liu He’s visit to Washington ,D.C.