China and United States to hold trade talks in Beijing next week

Geneva Stokes
January 7, 2019

China's government says American envoys will visit Beijing on Monday for talks on a tariff fight that threatens to put a drag on global economic growth.

A U.S. government delegation will visit China next week for the first face-to-face talks since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart agreed on a temporary truce in the trade war, Beijing said Friday.

Deputy US trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead the American delegation, China's Ministry of Commerce said. Its one-sentence announcement gave no other details of the agenda or who else would take part.

It could mark a turn from most of 2018 when many economists and officials said the Trump administration's higher trade tariffs had yet to seriously hurt US growth.

Other administration officials at the talks will include Mr Gregg Doud, the US Trade Representative's chief agricultural negotiator, and Mr David Malpass, the Treasury Department's Undersecretary for International Affairs, said the sources.

China's own stock market has fallen by about 25% in the past year as investor concerns grew about the impact of the trade war on China's economy. "Can they compromise? We'll see".

"I think we will make a deal with China", Trump told reporters at the White House after a meeting with Democratic and Republican lawmakers about the USA government shutdown.

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Both governments face economic pressure to reach a settlement.

Instead, more than 70 percent of US firms operating in southern China are putting off further investment there and moving some or all of their manufacturing to other countries.

On January 1, China and the USA congratulated each other on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

As Chinese tariffs take a bigger bite out of profits, US manufacturers with operations there are scrambling to find alternatives.

The US and China's trade talks will attempt to end disputes between the two countries, which have been causing volatility in global financial markets.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported about the trip and said that if there is progress in negotiations, Chinese trade officials led by Vice Premier Liu He will follow up with talks in Washington the following week. But that was due partly to exporters rushing to beat new duties - a trend that is fading.

The U.S. duties are set to increase to 25 percent in January. American exports to China fell nearly 30 percent in October compared to a year earlier. On Thursday, privately held grains trader Cargill announced worse-than-expected results out of China.

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