China welcomes U.S. trade talks offer as new tariffs loom

China welcomes U.S. trade talks offer as new tariffs loom

Farmers felt the pain when China targeted them with retaliatory tariffs, cutting off a major market for US agriculture exports.

In a move to defuse trade war tensions, Beijing has welcomed Washington's offer to hold another meeting to sort out their differences.

If both sets of tariffs go ahead it would mean virtually all of China's U.S. exports would be subject to new tariffs.

The possible resumption of negotiations sent Asian markets rallying with Hong Kong surging 2.5 per cent - having fallen for six straight days and into a bear market - and Shanghai more than one per cent higher.

Details on the potential talks were thin, but Larry Kudlow, White House economic advisor, said the prospect of talks was a positive development. "And so, Secretary Mnuchin, who is the team leader with China, has apparently issued an invitation".

His first round of tariffs this summer hit US$50 billion in Chinese products like high-end technology parts and manufactured goods, while Beijing fired back dollar-for-dollar at United States soybeans, autos and other farm goods. 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.

More than 60 per cent of USA companies polled said the United States tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on U.S. goods were having an impact on business.

But Kudlow was non-committal over the chances of a breakthrough, adding: "I guarantee nothing". Midlevel U.S. and Chinese officials met on August 22 and 23 with no agreements.

The Trump administration's $200 billion tariff list would hit a broad array of internet technology products and consumer goods from handbags to vacuum cleaners and bicycles to furniture.

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US President Donald Trump said last week that in addition to preparing tariffs on the further US$200 billion worth of goods, he had tariffs on an additional US$267 billion worth of goods ready "on short notice if I want".

"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.

Zoom out from the automotive sector, and more than 60% of American companies in China said they have been affected by the tit-for-tat spat.

The invitation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

"This survey affirms our concerns: tariffs are already negatively impacting USA companies and the imposition of a proposed $200-billion tranche will bring a lot more pain", said Eric Zheng, chairman of AmCham Shanghai.

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

More than 60% of USA companies polled said the US tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on US goods were having an impact on business.

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

"Washington's overall attitude is still tough, but they do not reject a "talk and fight" strategy".

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