WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China launch a second round of trade talks on Thursday to try to avert a damaging tariff war, with the Trump administration demanding a $200 billion cut in China’s U.S. trade surplus and greater protections for intellectual property.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose up to $150 billion in punitive tariffs to combat what he says is Beijing’s misappropriation of U.S. technology through joint venture requirements and other policies. Beijing has threatened equal retaliation, including tariffs on some of its largest U.S. imports, including aircraft, soybeans and autos.
At talks in Beijing two weeks ago, both sides presented lengthy lists of demands, agreeing only to keep talking.
China demanded that Trump relax crushing restrictions imposed on Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ)(0763.HK), and end restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States and sales of high-technology goods to China.
Trump on Sunday wrote on Twitter he would help put ZTE back in business after a Commerce Department ban cut off its supply of U.S. components, forcing it to suspend operations.
In tweets on Wednesday, Trump linked ZTE’s situation to a larger trade deal and said that Beijing has “much to give” Washington on trade, denying suggestions his administration was “folding” in negotiations with China.
“Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business Network on Thursday the discussion over ZTE was about re-examining the U.S. penalties, not waiving the enforcement action altogether.
“We have not seen China’s demands yet, which should be few in that previous U.S. Administrations have done so poorly in negotiating,” Trump wrote. “The U.S. has very little to give, because it has given so much over the years. China has much to give!”