Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

United States sends Beijing eleventh-hour invitation for trade talks


President Donald Trump has criticised China's record trade surplus with the United States, and has demanded that Beijing cut it immediately, threatening further tariffs on an additional US$200 million worth of goods - and possibly more. They plan events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and OH starting next week, according to a statement posted on a new website.

Just six percent, meanwhile, said they would consider moving factories to USA soil. "The stakes couldn't be higher for American families, businesses, farmers and workers threatened by job losses and higher prices as a result of tit-for-tat tariffs".

A pending $200 billion list would extend further into consumer goods, and the threat of an additional $267 billion would basically cover every Chinese export to the US.

Businesses are ratcheting up lobbying against tariffs that the Trump administration has imposed, or is considering. The White House is pushing tariffs as a powerful negotiating tool for winning what it says are better trade deals for all Americans.

Almost half of respondents - who work in retail, food and manufacturing - say production costs have climbed, and 42 percent said they've noticed a decreased demand for their products. The new border taxes are expected to take effect this fall.

The negative impact of the tariffs on United States companies has been "clear and far reaching", according to the joint survey by AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai published on Thursday.

Sixty-four percent of companies that responded to the AmCham survey, which was conducted between August 29 and September 5, said the first round of tariffs that Trump slapped on $50 billion in Chinese imports this year have negatively affected their operations, while 63 percent said the same about the equal amount of duties Beijing imposed in retaliation.

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"The U.S. administration runs the risk of a downward spiral of attack and counterattack, benefiting no one", Zarit said in statement.

More than 52% of respondents to the survey reported already suffering the consequences of such measures, mainly through increased inspections, slower customs clearance and "other complications from increased bureaucratic oversight or regulatory scrutiny". The Chinese government has dismissed the complaints as "groundless". "But we can do so through means other than blanket tariffs".

"There has been a lot of work that has been going on over the last eight months to try to persuade the president and the administration that tariffs are not going to work", said Dean Garfield, chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and Apple Inc AAPL.O .

The proposed meeting might take place in Washington or Beijing, the people said.

Earlier in Vladivostok, Russia on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Eastern Economic Forum, Xi Jinping praised China's stable and improving ties with Russia, while both he and Vladimir Putin criticized "protectionist trade policies" without mentioning Trump by name, reports the Guardian.

Senior U.S. officials led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently sent an invitation to their Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, to hold another bilateral trade meeting.

China has also warned it could unleash "qualitative" measures, which US business groups have interpreted as more burdensome regulations, stalled visas and other red-tape headaches. He has repeatedly vocalized his discontent with the massive, multi-billion dollar US trade deficit with China.

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