The United States is pressing China to cut its trade surplus with the former by US$100 billion, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday, clarifying a tweet last week from President Donald Trump.
Last Wednesday, Trump tweeted that China had been asked to develop a plan to reduce its trade imbalance with the US by US$1 billion, but the spokeswoman said Trump had meant to say US$100 billion, Reuters reports.
The US had a record US$375 billion trade deficit with China in 2017, which made up two thirds of a global US$566 billion US trade gap last year, according to US Census Bureau data.
China reported its 2017 US trade surplus as US$276 billion, also about two thirds of its reported global surplus of US$422.5 billion.
The White House spokeswoman declined to provide details about how the administration would like China to accomplish the surplus-cutting goal, Reuters said.
There is a question as to whether increased purchases of US products such as soybeans or aircraft would suffice, or whether the US wants China to make major changes to its industrial policies, cut subsidies to state-owned enterprises or further reduce steel and aluminum capacity.
The request comes as the Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs on imports of up to US$60 billion worth of Chinese IT, telecoms and consumer products as part of a US investigation into China’s intellectual property practices, Reuters noted.
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