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US's Mnuchin to lead trade talks with China

US's Mnuchin to lead trade talks with China

The White House's harshest China critic, Peter Navarro, will not be one of the principal American officials at U.S.

USA officials initially told the Chinese that they'd be open to granting some relief from the pending tariffs in exchange for a commitment to reduce the trade deficit with China by $200 billion over two years, according to an administration official.

Bloomberg reports that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has been cut out of talks in part because of recent behavior that was described as erratic and unprofessional.

Mnuchin and other senior administration officials have been in direct discussions with the Chinese.

Liu and other senior Chinese officials are visiting Washington for the second round of trade negotiations.

The US and China have held talks to update the two countries' trading relationship.

Liu told one group of House lawmakers in a meeting Wednesday that he "recognizes there are problems" in the U.S.

Backing off the ban on sales of components to ZTE was reportedly a prerequisite stipulated by the Chinese for trade talks to even begin.

The US has threatened to impose 25 per cent punitive duties on up to US$150 billion (S$201.04 billion) in Chinese goods, while China has targeted US$50 billion in American exports.

Representative Kevin Brady, the committee's Republican chairman, said he urged Liu to keep working with the administration toward a solution.

Brady and Hatch said the issue of ZTE didn't come up during Liu's meetings with lawmakers. Liu, who has already met USA negotiators led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing this month, is said to be optimistic that an agreement can be reached, CNBC reported.

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.

Trump on Monday had defended his decision to revisit penalties on ZTE for flouting USA sanctions on trade with Iran, in part by saying it was reflective of the larger trade deal the United States is negotiating with China.

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In addition to its request on the trade deficit, the USA asked Beijing to stop subsidies for high-tech sectors such as robotics and aerospace that are targeted for development in the "Made in China 2025" plan and to promise not to retaliate against US farm goods for any tariffs that the United States might impose.

"Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal", Mr Trump said on Twitter. However, some witnesses are also using the opportunity to ask the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to include additional items on the list.

Navarro has much more strident views on China's trade history, ones that Trump has often agreed with.

Trump tweeted his support for ZTE earlier this week, putting the president at odds with the Commerce Department and its decision to impose trade restrictions on the company amid allegations it violated US sanctions.

The ban has caused ZTE to cease operations, and Trump on Sunday tweeted that he had instructed the Commerce Department to take steps that would restore ZTE's ability to operate.

Trump said in tweets on Wednesday that "nothing has happened" with China's ZTE Corp and that Beijing has "much to give" Washington on trade, denying suggestions that his administration was "folding" in negotiations with Beijing.