US' Officials: US, China to launch trade talks

China vows to defend its own interests in US trade talks

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The Trump administration trade delegation that traveled to China two weeks ago has been referred to by at least one person briefed on the trip as the "trade avengers".

Ways and Means committee members Tom Reed, a New York Republican, and Democratic Representative Sandy Levin, of MI, said a goal in the meeting with Liu was to show bipartisan support for countering China's trade practices.

One administration official said Navarro is being excluded from the talks this week.

Reports have signaled Navarro's apparent waning influence on trade matters, leading to questions about his role in the White House. It is not clear exactly what that would entail.

Trump's apparent openness to a deal has set off a panic among some of his more hard-line advisers, who blame Mnuchin for convincing the president to abandon his commitment to taking an aggressive posture toward China.

According to press reports, Navarro sparred with Mnuchin over his handling of the China talks and was barred from attending the meetings this week.

Brady spoke to reporters in Washington after his committee met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is visiting Washington this week for talks with the Trump administration on ways to resolve a brewing trade dispute. He co-authored a 2011 book entitled "Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - a Global Call to Action", which focused on his perceptions of China's economic policies.

China has promised to retaliate in equal measure, targeting USA soybeans, aircraft, autos and other goods for additional tariffs.

But Sunday, Trump signaled that he was beginning to back down from his tough stance.

ZTE was fined $1.2 billion in March 2017 but last month it was prohibited from buying crucial USA parts after the commerce department found the company had lied multiple times and failed to take actions against employees responsible for sanctions violations on Iran and North Korea.

The White House said Wednesday that top trade adviser Peter Navarro, a staunch anti-China member of President Donald Trump's economic team, will take part in Thursday's meeting between Trump administration officials and Vice Premier Liu He, China's top economic official.

Little progress was made during the meeting, though White House officials were hoping to make more progress during new talks this week. "The meetings haven't even started yet!"

US lawmakers on Tuesday rejected any plan by Trump to ease restrictions on ZTE, calling the company a security threat and vowing not to abandon the Commerce Department ruling banning sales of American components and software to the company for violating terms of a sanctions settlement deal. "America's national security must not be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations".

Before officials traveled to Beijing for talks, the USA issued a series of demands, including that China reduce its trade surplus with the U.S.by $200 billion in two years.

Seperately, news website Axios reported that Navarro "blew up" at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secreatry Wilbur Ross during the trip to China. That prompted the Chinese company to announce last week it was ceasing business operations.

The comments followed Trump's surprise announcement on Sunday that the administration was exploring ways to soften the blow from a ban on exporting crucial United States technology to the company, which Washington says violated sanctions and misled USA officials. "Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal", Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday.

The two countries are reportedly attempting a swap: Relief for ZTE in return for Beijing dropping plans to impose tariffs on USA farm products.

The talks will start as USTR finishes up public hearings on the first batch of United States tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods proposed as punishment for alleged violations of USA intellectual rights.

Close to 125 witnesses are scheduled to testify at the hearings, which conclude on Thursday, in a sign of the concern in the US business community over the administration's move. The Chinese company has been crippled by a US decision to cut off its access to key components from American suppliers for making false statements in a sanctions case. However, U.S. trade officials said if they take that step they will hold a second public comment period and hearing. -China trading relationship, according to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. Additionally, lawmakers took the Chinese to task for alleged transfers of USA intellectual property to Chinese firms.

Commerce Secretary Ross has said twice in the past week that the two sides had exchanged detailed lists of demands. "It was really the beginning of what I think is going to be a lengthy process", he said.

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