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As Trade Talks With China Open, President Trump Praises President Xi

As Trade Talks With China Open, President Trump Praises President Xi

Mr. Liu, an economist by training, is a close adviser and longtime friend of President Xi Jinping.

"We'd like to see the Trump administration clearly articulate what it wants China to do", he said.

Differences over trade policy and market access have been a persistent concern for the United States and other foreign investors in China.

The president has long complained of what he says are unfair Chinese policies contributing to a huge USA trade deficit.

The negotiations are expected to deal with ways to resolve these trade disputes. The meeting is seen by some as a positive step, as the two sides attempt to avoid the possible outbreak of a trade war.

The US will likely urge China to reduce the deficit by 100 billion dollars and to prevent violations of intellectual property rights.

The American team is too large and unwieldy to accomplish much and its internal rivalries make it more likely to produce more posturing than actual negotiations, according to Evan Medeiros, Asia managing director at Eurasia Group and former senior director for Asian affairs at the White House National Security Council.

Trucks transport containers at a port in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, Apr. 8, 2018.

But in recent months, he has voiced strong support for Trump's tougher trade approach to China and steel and aluminum tariffs. Trump has also suggested he is considering putting additional tariffs on up to $100 billion in Chinese goods.

The Washington trade lawyer has long expressed views that China has failed to live up to obligations that came with joining the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

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US-based trade experts have said they expected Beijing to offer Trump's team a package of policy changes that may include some previously announced moves, such as a phase-out of joint venture requirements for some sectors, autos tariff reductions and increased purchases of United States goods. The Chinese government has also responded with threats of its own, saying that if the US presses ahead with tariffs it will respond in kind.

Washington pointed to weak IP protection in Chinese courts run by the ruling Communist Party, which has set explicit requirements for replacing foreign technology with home-grown alternatives.

Donald Trump took to social media to call for a "level playing field on trade", with the US President also tweeting his hopes of securing a "great" future relationship with China. "I look forward to being with President Xi in the not too distant future".

"In the event of a trade war, we have a much greater ability to endure (the consequences) than the USA", the Chinese official said.

In recent months, Trump has demanded a $100 billion annual reduction in the $375 billion U.S. goods trade deficit with China, and responded to Chinese vows of retaliation over USA tariffs with threats of duties on another $100 billion worth of Chinese exports to the United States.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed the talks had begun, but did not provide further information.

After the US-China "my tariffs are broader and bigger than yours" tit-for-tat, it's time for talks to bargain, hassle, negotiate and compromise. The discussions should involve equal-footed consultation and mutual respect, and work toward mutual benefits, she told reporters in a regular briefing.

The U.S. delegation includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, White House economic advisers Peter Navarro, Larry Kudlow, Everett Eissenstat and ambassador Terry Branstad.

Christopher Balding is a professor at Peking University's HSBC Business School.

The U.S. business community has warned that Trump should not be fixated upon the trade deficit, and should instead focus on opening market access for U.S. companies in China.

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