Mix-messages on next round of talks on US-China trade war

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday invited Chinese officials to a new round of talks later this month over US threatened tariffs on Chinese exports worth $200 billion, and a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters Thursday that Beijing welcomed the invitation.

The U.S. -China Business Council (USCBC), a nonpartisan non-profit representing around 200 American companies, told Observer that, in recent weeks, the council has been hearing from U.S. companies about delays and challenges getting licensing approvals in China.

U.S. companies in China say they are already feeling the pain from the trade war. "And so, Secretary Mnuchin, who is the team leader with China, has apparently issued an invitation".

China welcomed the offer of talks and said the two countries were discussing the details, according to reports.

Asian shares advanced on Thursday on hopes that a deal could be struck in the bitter tariff dispute between the world's two largest economies.

Washington, Europe and other trading partners say those plans violate China's market-opening commitments.

About 74.3 percent said they would be affected if Washington's tariff increase on $200 billion of Chinese goods goes ahead.


The U.S. has enjoyed near-record low joblessness and faster economic growth in 2018, while Beijing's economy faces growing long-term concerns, including a sharp decline in the value of its currency.

In response, China has vowed to retaliate with tariffs on another $60 billion of USA exports, including meat, coffee, furniture and auto parts.

"I can't give you many details because there aren't many details".

Asked if the Trump administration would like to have additional trade talks with China, Mr Kudlow said: "If they come to the table in a serious way to generate some positive results, yes, of course".

But Kudlow was non-committal over the chances of a breakthrough, adding: "I guarantee nothing".

Such a meeting could take place in Washington or Beijing, though the timing is unclear, according to informed sources.

A US Treasury spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.


The tweet appeared aimed at a Wall Street Journal report about Mr. Mnuchin's invitation. A meeting among Cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world's two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.

A survey from AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai found that almost two-thirds of more than 430 USA firms in China say the tariffs Trump placed on billions of dollars of Chinese goods this summer have hurt their businesses.

"This survey affirms our concerns: tariffs are already negatively impacting USA companies and the imposition of a proposed $200-billion tranche will bring a lot more pain", said Eric Zheng, chairman of AmCham Shanghai.

China may not be able to match future USA tariffs dollar for dollar and has warned that it would take other measures.

On Wednesday, more than 60 USA industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public.

More than 430 companies responded to the survey between August 29 and September 5, which Ken Jarrett, president of AmCham Shanghai, said had been conducted in part to provide AmCham with data for meetings with members of congress later this month.

"Tariffs are already negatively impacting USA companies and the imposition of a proposed $200 billion tranche will bring a lot more pain", Eric Zheng, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said Thursday in a statement.


China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against USA companies operating there.

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