Date
14 November 2018
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is among those who are said to be involved in backroom discussions with Chinese officials to resolve a trade dispute between the two sides. Photo: Reuters
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is among those who are said to be involved in backroom discussions with Chinese officials to resolve a trade dispute between the two sides. Photo: Reuters

US seeks China trade moves on autos, semiconductors: report

US officials are asking China to cut tariffs on imported cars, allow foreign majority ownership of financial services firms and buy more American-made semiconductors, according to Reuters.

The requests come as the two sides negotiate behind the scenes following Washington’s announcement last week that it plans to levy duties on about US$60 billion of Chinese goods, the news agency said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Autos, financial services and semiconductors are among the sectors that top US officials want Beijing to offer concessions if it is to avoid a trade war, the report said.

President Donald Trump is said to have instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to try to resolve trade differences with China.

“We’re hopeful there that China will work with us to basically address some of these practices,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNBC television.

US stocks surged on Monday on the news that the two sides were talking, after a massive rout last week when Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, particularly tech and telecoms products.

Despite a steady stream of fierce rhetoric from Chinese state media lambasting the US for being a “bully” and warning of retaliation, Chinese and US officials are said to be busy negotiating behind the scenes.

In an interview aired on Sunday, Mnuchin told Fox News that he was pursuing an agreement with the Chinese “for them to open up their markets, reduce their tariffs, stop forced technology transfer. These are all the things we want to do.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday that China and the US should maintain negotiations. Also, he repeated pledges to ease access for American businesses in China’s markets.

According to the Financial Times, Beijing, among other measures, has offered to buy more US semiconductors by diverting some purchases from South Korea and Taiwan.

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RC

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