US President Donald Trump’s trade dispute with China has commanded a lot of headlines. It’s also caused some modest pain and disruptions in global import-export markets. But more importantly, it’s helped highlight a number of unfair trade practices that former US administrations were too timid to tackle.
The Australian Tribune has said since the beginning of the trade ructions, that Trump doesn’t want an extended full blown trade war. That it’s simply a useful threat to have at his disposal.
Trump is looking for a political victory here. And it’s vital he gets that onto the scoreboard before 6 November. That’s when the US midterm elections take place. Elections that will determine whether Republicans can maintain control of the House and Senate.
In a sign that a deal may be within reach before that key date, the Trump administration is stepping up its communications with China over trade, the White House’s top economic adviser says. People familiar with the effort are saying an invitation for a new round of trade talks has been sent to Beijing.
The invitation from senior US officials led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been sent to Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, these sources said on Wednesday.
The outreach comes as the Trump administration prepares to activate tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, hitting a broad array of internet technology products and consumer goods from handbags to bicycles to furniture.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would not confirm the meeting invitation, but said that communication with Beijing had ‘picked up a notch.’
‘The Treasury Department is in communication with China. I can’t go beyond that,’ Kudlow told reporters outside the White House.
He added that he views such communication as ‘a positive thing.’
‘I think most of us think it’s better to talk than not to talk, and I think the Chinese government is willing to talk,’ Kudlow said, declining to provide any further details.
Asked if the Trump administration would like to have additional trade talks with China, Kudlow said: ‘If they come to the table in a serious way to generate some positive results, yes of course. That’s what we’ve been asking for months and months.’
But he cautioned: ‘I guarantee nothing.’
The timing and location of the proposed meeting were unclear, the sources familiar with the matter said. Mid-level US and Chinese officials met on 22–23 August with no agreements.
A US Treasury spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The invitation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
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The Australian Tribune with RAW