Washington, Oct 11 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said that he will hold talks with China’s Vice Premier and top trade negotiator Liu He at the White House on Friday, a meeting that comes a week before Washington is set to further ratchet up the trade war with higher tariffs on Chinese imports.
“Big day of negotiations with China. They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at the White House,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Trump’s message came shortly after the chief negotiators from both sides began a new round of talks in Washington, reports Efe news.
Liu is leading the Chinese delegation to the talks, while the US is being represented by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The two-day gathering comes just days before the US is to raise tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports from 25 per cent to 30 per cent. That expected hike, which was originally scheduled to occur on October 1, was subsequently pushed back to October 15.
The latest milestone in the trade war between Washington and Beijing occurred on September 1 when the US started imposing 15 per cent tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese consumer goods.
In retaliation, Beijing began implementing punitive levies of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent on US products valued at $75 billion, including agricultural products, crude oil and small aircraft.
The US has so far slapped tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese products since the trade war began in July 2018.
Also looming on December 15 is a proposed 15 per cent tariff on $156 billion in Chinese goods, including smartphones and other consumer goods.
Total tariffs applied to US goods by China thus far have totalled $185 billion.
Meanwhile, Wall Street reacted positively to the announcement of the meeting between Trump and Liu, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up around 0.5 per cent in early afternoon trading.
Trump launched the trade war as part of his “America First” bid to lower a wide trade deficit with China, and the tit-for-tat tariffs levelled by the two superpowers have had an impact on the global economy.
In July, the International Monetary Fund cited heightened trade tensions in forecasting that global growth would come in at 3.2 per cent in 2019 and 3.5 per cent in 2020.