A high-level American trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from China after having “frank discussions” with Chinese officials on rebalancing the bilateral economic relationship.
The US delegation and the Chinese side, led by Vice Premier Liu He, also in charge of the economy and a Politburo member of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, met Thursday and yesterday.
According to the White House, the US delegation affirmed that fair trade will lead to faster growth for the Chinese, United States, and world economies.
A trade spat between the top two economies of the world began last month with Trump imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the US from China, which also retaliated by imposing additional tariffs worth about USD three billion on 128 US products.
The two countries have not yet implemented their tariff increases to reach a negotiated settlement.
“The delegation held frank discussions with Chinese officials on rebalancing the United States–China bilateral economic relationship, improving China’s protection of intellectual property, and identifying policies that unfairly enforce technology transfers,” the White House said in a statement.
“The United States delegation affirmed that fair trade will lead to faster growth for the Chinese, United States, and world economies,” the statement read.
Other members of the delegation included Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro.
They will now brief the President and seek his decision on next steps, the White House said.
“The size and high level of this delegation illustrates the importance that the Trump Administration places on securing fair trade and investment terms for American businesses and workers,” it said.
The White House said there is consensus within the Administration that immediate attention is needed to bring changes to United States–China trade and investment relationship.
The US goods and services trade with China totalled to an estimated USD 648.2 billion in 2016 in which China had a lion’s share with about USD 478.9 billion exports. The US exports to China stood at USD 169.3 billion, according to US trade figures.
The US, the world’s largest economy, has a trade deficit of almost USD 500 billion with China, the world’s second largest economy.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that little progress was made during the visit.
“The US and China asked one another to make sweeping concessions in trade talks, failing to bridge sharp divisions and raising the chances that each government will slap tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of the other country’s exports,” the daily said.
While the US asked China to cut its trade surplus by USD 200 billion; China sought to get Washington to ease national-security reviews of Chinese investments.
“Instead of reaching common ground, the talks ended inconclusively Friday,” the daily reported.