United States and China still "very far apart" on trade, says United States ambassador

Larry Hoffman
May 15, 2018

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said State Council Vice Premier, Liu He, would arrive in the USA on Tuesday for trade negotiations. "The gap is wide", he said during a speech at the National Press Club.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang also said China appreciated tweets by Trump saying he would help ZTE Corp. get "back into business" because too many jobs in China are at stake after the USA government cut off access to ZTE's American suppliers.

The United States is not seeking a trade war with China and top USA officials are looking to make a deal with Beijing, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday as talks between the two nations were set to resume. China counterpunched with tariffs on a range of US products, including bourbon and blue jeans. Too many jobs in China lost.

Asian shares were mostly lower in muted trading Tuesday amid continuing uncertainty over trade tensions between China and the U.S.

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, who was at the Beijing talks, said earlier on Tuesday the United States wants a timetable on how China will open up its markets to U.S. exports as the two countries are still not close to resolving trade frictions.

The U.S. and China are closing in on a deal that would give China's ZTE Corp. a reprieve from potentially crippling U.S. sanctions in exchange for Beijing removing tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. agricultural products, said people in both countries briefed on the deal.

Despite now ceasing main business operations, China's second biggest telecom equipment maker is still trying to have the ban modified or reversed. It would reduce USA gross domestic product by almost 3 billion dollars and destroy 134,000 American jobs annually, according to a new study recently released by the federation and the Consumer Technology Association. US companies that export to China have seen their goods held up at China's ports amid tougher inspections.

At the Beijing talks, the Trump administration handed China a list of hard-line demands that trade experts said could make it even more hard to resolve the trade disputes.

"The Company and related parties are actively communicating with the relevant United States government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal of the Denial Order by the USA government and forge a positive outcome in the development of the matters", said ZTE. "But be cool, it will all work out!"

Chinese officials raised their objections to ZTE's punishment at trade talk in Beijing earlier this month, and the American delegation agreed to report them to Trump.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil inched up 1 cent to $70.97 a barrel.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last month accused ZTE of misleading the department and warned, "This egregious behavior can not be ignored".

But Democratic lawmaker Adam Schiff cautioned against being too soft on the company, saying on Twitter: "Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat".

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