Chinese, US senior officials highlight cooperation to settle trade disputes

China's defence spending to accelerate in 2018_0

President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser told USA business leaders in Washington that China hopes the White House will revive high-level dialogue on economic disputes and name a new chief liaison to defuse mounting trade tensions, a person briefed on the matter said.

The adviser, Liu He, said he will take charge of reform efforts this month and wants a list of USA demands for what China could do to ease tensions, according to the person.

During his visit, Liu discussed the China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation, as well as other important issues of mutual concern with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Liu didn't provide specifics on what action China planned to take, the person said.

Instead, his trip was overshadowed by President Donald Trump's Thursday announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The comments were made as the recently announced intention of the United States to impose tariffs has heightened global concerns over potential trade confrontations, particularly those between the world's two largest economies.

Trump thumbed his nose Friday at the concerns over rising trade tensions and higher prices for US consumers, tweeting that "trade wars are good, and easy to win".

Chinese officials have appealed to the White House since last March to avoid hurting both sides by disrupting aluminum trade.

"The Chinese side was strongly against it", Wang Hejun, head of China's Ministry of Commerce Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, said in an online statement Friday, referring to Tuesday's news. In January, he took his first foray into tariff measures by placing charges on imported washing machines and solar panels.

China's defence spending to accelerate in 2018_1
Pool AFP Jason Lee China's People's Liberation Army has more than two million personnel making it the world's largest fighting force

"China is free to pursue whatever trade policy it prefers".

Steel producers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey rely far more heavily on the United States market.

"We will stick to the Chinese path in strengthening our armed forces, advance all aspects of military training and war preparedness", Li said.

Steel and aluminium each account for less than one percent of China's total exports to the United States.

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers are also disappointed with the Administration's decision.

Beijing actually gave a similar target for 2017 - saying a year ago that it was aiming for growth "around 6.5% or higher if possible".

China feels a great sense of duty, and considers not only its own growth but the sustained development of the world economy, Li said, adding that the country hopes the recent positive momentum of the world economy will be championed.

Beijing could target soybeans to retaliate against any punitive trade action from the us, but it's unlikely to do that just to counter heavy USA tariffs on steel and aluminum, experts said. It pledges to prevent Beijing from disrupting global trade.

South Korean envoys to visit the North to broker talks with US
He will be accompanied by National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon and Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung. In a fiery response, North Korea's spokesman for the foreign ministry attacked Washington officials.

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