US invites China to trade talks as tariffs loom

U.S. President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting on preparations for hurricane Florence at the White House in Washington

"The Trump administration should not be mistaken that China will surrender to the US demands". So, as Trump's tariff hikes on Chinese imports keep ramping up, China is naturally running out of room to retaliate.

Details on the potential talks were thin, but Larry Kudlow, White House economic advisor, said the prospect of talks was a positive development.

China's foreign ministry on Thursday said it welcomed the invitation from the United States side, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for renewed dialogue on trade after low-level talks in Washington last month fizzled without results.

"Chinese officials said they have grown wary of the Trump administration's unpredictable decision-making process and may be hesitant to accept without a clear sign USA negotiators have authority to speak for the president", the original report said.

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.

The sides have been engaged in an escalating tit-for-tat trade fight for months but on Wednesday it emerged that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited top Chinese officials to discuss the issue.

Beijing "has indeed received an invitation from the U.S. and holds a welcoming attitude to it", said Gao, noting the "two sides are still communicating on the specific details".

But Kudlow was non-committal over the chances of a breakthrough, adding: "I guarantee nothing".

On Thursday, the USA business lobbies AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai published a joint survey showing that the negative impact on US companies in China of tit-for-tat tariffs Washington and Beijing have imposed on one another was "clear and far reaching".

The timing and location of the proposed meeting were unclear, the sources familiar with the matter said.

AmCham's survey results come a day after more than 60 USA industry groups launched a coalition called Americans For Free Trade, which aims to halt the White House's proposed tariffs. Midlevel U.S. and Chinese officials met on August 22 and 23 with no agreements.

About 30 per cent said they were adjusting supply chains by seeking to source components and/or assembly outside the US, and about the same number were seeking to source components and/or assembly outside China. 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.

He also made it clear he was ready to impose tariffs worth $200 billion on goods "very soon" if President Xin Jinping's government refused to back down.

The tweet appeared aimed at a Wall Street Journal report about Mr. Mnuchin's invitation.

One of the highest-profile casualties of the trade war was U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm's (QCOM) $44 billion acquisition of Dutch rival NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), which China killed in July by refusing to grant it regulatory approval.

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

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