China says talks on USA tariff fight scheduled for Monday

Minnie Murray
January 7, 2019

President Donald Trump on Friday said the United States could reap some benefits in trade talks with China from that country's current economic weakness. "I think they sort of have to".

White House economics adviser Kevin Hassett was in a chipper mood on Thursday as he predicted many companies will announce lower than expected earnings as a result of the trade war with China.

"That puts a lot of pressure on China to make a deal", he said.

He campaigned on a pledge to make trade fairer for the United States and to help American manufacturers.

The U.S. and Chinese governments both have expressed interest in a trade settlement but give no indication their stances have shifted.

U.S. and China have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $300 billion worth of goods in total two-way trade. The shares closed at US$148.26 on Friday, down about 5.1 percent for the week. Sixty-four percent of the more than 400 companies surveyed said they were considering relocating production lines to outside of China, but only 1 percent said they had any plans to establish manufacturing bases in North America.

But those gains would be dwarfed by news earlier in the week that planned to cut some 14,000 jobs in a widespread restructuring forced in part by fading sales growth. The longer their trade war lasts, the longer companies and consumers will feel the pain of higher-priced imports and exports. The talks begin on Monday.

Wendy Cutler, a former USA trade negotiator, said the US likely can't realistically settle for anything less than an agreement by Beijing to reform how it does business.

In addition to Gerrish, the U.S. team will include the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's top negotiator on agricultural issues, Gregg Doud; Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass; Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan; the U.S. Agriculture Department's under secretary for trade and foreign affairs, Ted McKinney; the U.S. Department of Energy's assistant secretary for fossil energy, Steven Winberg; and other senior officials.

U.S. and China agree to hold first substantive trade talks since truce was struck at November's G20 summit in Argentina.

China and the United States will hold vice ministerial-level trade talks in Beijing on January 7-8, as the two sides look to end a dispute that is inflicting increasing pain on both economies and roiling global financial markets. "Now, the question is can we negotiate these changes and can we do so with enforcement (and) with timetables".

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