China’s top trade negotiator to head to US for talks

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Beijing, Jan 17 (IANS) China’s top economic official will travel to the US later this month to hold talks with the US as the world’s two largest economies engage in parleys to end the bruising trade war before the March 1 truce deadline.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry announced on Thursday that Vice Premier and top trade negotiator Liu He will visit the US on Jan 30-31 to hold talks with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to iron out their trade differences.

Liu’s visit comes after junior-level talks between the two sides in Beijing last week, meant to prepare the groundwork for the crucial negotiations later this month.

Beijing and Washington are in truce until March 1 in their biggest trade war triggered by the US President Donald Trump over the alleged sordid business practices by China.

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Both sides are engaged in hectic talks to find a solution before the March 1 deadline after which Washington’s planned levies on $200 billion of Chinese goods will kick in.

Both sides have said the talks are going well.

Last year, both sides slapped tariffs worth millions on each other’s goods.

Trump accuses China of arm-twisting American companies to transfer technology to their Chinese counterparts and ballooning trade deficit.

Beijing denies these charges and accuses Washington of containing it.

The bruising trade dispute has hurt the already flagging Chinese economy which grew at 6.5 per cent in the third quarter, slowest since 2009.

Its total exports fell to $221.25 billion in December, down 1.4 per cent from November, and 4.4 per cent from the same month in 2017.

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(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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