US-China trade negotiations continue

Global Business

liu he (PHOTO: AP)

China’s top economic advisor, Vice Premier Liu He, is expected to come to Washington soon for discussions with President Trump’s economic team. But the timing of the meeting is unclear. CGTN’s Jim Spellman has this report.

On Monday, the White House said the Vice Premier would come next week. But on Friday U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told a U.S. TV network there is chance the meeting may not be held next week.

The US and China are hoping to strike a deal and avoid a trade war. During last week’s high level talks in Beijing the US side demanded a $200 billion cut in the US trade deficit with China.

The U.S. says the 2017 trade deficit in goods with China was more than 375 billion dollars.

China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai says the trade relationship between the two largest economies is about much more than just the trade deficit.

“First, it would be too simplistic to say that trade deficit would mean loss trade surplus would mean gains. I think the real situation is more complicated. And you have to look at the whole supply value chain and international division of labor. But still too much imbalance in trade, huge deficit for you and huge surplus for us, I don’t think this should continue, I don’t think it will continue,” said Cui, speaking at a Washington think tank on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened tariffs on a total of $150 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Next week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will hold three days of public hearings on the proposed tariffs. About 130 businesses and trade groups are expected to testify. Most oppose the tariffs and don’t want to see this trade conflict escalate.

The influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a private group that advocates for U.S. business interests – has released a statement ahead of next week’s hearings saying, in part, “Tariffs are not the answer.”

An initial round of tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods can go into effect any time after May 22nd.