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USA reached out to China for new trade talks, sources say

14 September 2018

While no concrete details were revealed by either side, potential new talks would be aimed at staving off the next round of US$200 billion in punitive duties from the U.S. expected this month - the largest tariff measure in the intensifying trade war so far - and US$60 billion in retaliatory tariffs from China.

Christopher McNally, an adjunct senior fellow at the East-West Centre in Hawaii, said the Trump administration may seek a deal on the trade war before the elections, though he cautioned that the U.S. president could easily throw out any negotiated settlement if he felt it did not "help him politically or doesn't go far enough, doesn't make him look good enough".

"At the same time, we do not believe that the current system is flawless and without flaws", he said.

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".

Two-thirds of American companies that responded to a survey said they have suffered lost sales or lower profits due to that increase, two chambers of commerce reported Thursday.

Mr Kudlow told Fox Business News on Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "has apparently issued an invitation". In China, the yuan jumped and stocks rose.

Just six percent, meanwhile, said they would consider moving factories to USA soil.

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"Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing", he wrote.

After imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, Trump has threatened to do the same on $200 billion of additional imports.

Some 63.6 percent of more than 430 companies that responded to the American chambers' survey said profits and customer demand have fallen due to the USA tariffs and 62.5 percent said the same about retaliatory Chinese tariffs.

Eric Zheng, chairman of AmCham Shanghai, said he supported the administration's goal to push Beijing into overhauling trade practices Trump considers unfair.

"I think the talks have the potential to be successful, but it depends on the approach that both countries take", she said. 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.

"Every sector of the USA economy stands to lose in a trade war", Matthew Shay, who heads the National Retail Federation, said in the statement.

But he cautioned: "I guarantee nothing".

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A series of companies want President Trump to know that tariffs are hurting USA industries.

"Chinese officials said they have grown wary of the Trump administration's unpredictable decision-making process and may be hesitant to accept without a clear sign US negotiators have authority to speak for the president", the original report said.

Most of the shoes and at least half of the mattresses and furniture sold in the US are made in China.

That shows "neither side is 'winning, '" because "both are equally prone to losing companies", the chamber said.

AmCham's survey results come a day after more than 60 USA industry groups launched a coalition called Americans For Free Trade, which aims to halt the White House's proposed tariffs.

The Journal reported that the USA reached out because of political pressure on Trump to ease up on trade fights ahead of November's midterm elections.

In a move to defuse trade war tensions, Beijing has welcomed Washington's offer to hold another meeting to sort out their differences. -China Business Council, said this week Chinese officials told it they were postponing accepting license applications from American companies in financial services and other fields until relations improve.

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