President Trump has confirmed that a team led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will depart for Beijing “in a few days” to try and work out a deal. China said it welcomes the move.
The visit comes as the United States is threatening to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion-worth of Chinese imports.
CGTN’s Nathan King reports.
In a briefing, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters that China welcomes the decision by Washington to send a high level trade delegation to Beijing.
“We have received the message that the U.S. side hopes to come to China to talk about economic and trade issues,” he said. “China welcomes it. And I would like to reiterate here once again that we express our welcome to this move.”
Lu also stressed that China believes it has stuck by all World Trade Organization rules when it comes to trade, adding that if the U.S. government has any evidence against China it should present it to the WTO and not act unilaterally.
U.S. President Trump confirmed Tuesday that a team led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will depart for Beijing “in a few days” to try and work out a deal.
Trump made the announcement at a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron, saying, “I do play the trade card. If you look at what’s happening with trade in China, it hasn’t been fair for many many years to the United States, and we are going to solve that problem. In fact, we are having Secretary Mnuchin and a couple of other folks, Robert Lighthizer, heading over to China.”
Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are set to be joined by Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow and White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro.
Kudlow and Mnuchin are thought to be keen for a deal—stressing Beijing’s recent announcement that it will open up China’s auto sector fully to foreign firms.
Lighthizer and Navarro are architects of a much broader effort to challenge Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” economic plan to dominate industries of the future like biotechnology and robotics. It’s unclear whether the U.S. will have a coordinated proposal to offer China.
The U.S. is still drawing up a list of possible tariffs for a total of $150 billion-worth of Chinese products. Publication of the latest $100 billion list of products to be sanctioned could be delayed – at least until U.S. officials return from Beijing.
China has promised to respond with another tariff list of its own if the U.S. continues down this road.
Meanwhile, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was a guest at the White House state dinner for Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. Cook then met with Trump privately at The White House the following day. Apple and other big U.S. tech firms are worried that a trade war could disrupt global supply chains and cost them market share in China.
In a bid to catch a few words, CGTN waited at the White House for the Apple CEO’s meeting with President Trump to end. But he left the White House by a side entrance, making no comment.
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