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China vice premier to visit US for trade talks: White House

  • Agence France-Presse

    Agence France-Presse

Washington, United States | Tue, May 8, 2018 | 11:45 am
China vice premier to visit US for trade talks: White House Newly elected Vice Premiers Sun Chunlan (2nd left), Liu He (3rd left), and state councillors Wang Yong (2nd right), Xiao Jie (right), led by Vice Premier Han Zheng (left), take an oath after being elected during the seventh plenary session of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in this file photo. (Agence France-Presse/Fred Dufour)

China's top economic official will visit Washington next week to continue trade discussions, the White House said Monday, as threatened tariffs on billions of dollars of goods could be imposed this month. 

The visit by Vice Premier Liu He -- considered President Xi Jinping's right-hand man on economic issues -- comes after he led talks in Beijing last week with a high-level US delegation that made little headway in resolving the standoff.

The meetings come after a series of tit-for-tat threats of tariffs on billions of dollars of goods sparked earlier this year by Donald Trump, who accuses China of using unfair practices to get an unfair advantage over US exporters and costing American jobs.

"China's top economic advisor, the vice premier, will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the President's economic team," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. 

"The president has a great relationship with President Xi," Sanders said.  "And we are working on something that we think will be great for everybody." 

The negotiations could head off the threatened US tariffs targeting US$150 billion in imports from, while China has warned $50 billion in goods are in the firing line. Some of the US measures are due to take effect before the end of May.

However, China said "big differences" remained between the two sides after last week's talks while leaks of the negotiating positions showed both were digging in with hardline demands.  

The row has fueled worries about a trade war between the economic superpowers that has the potential to hammer the global economy. 

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