The administration of the US President Donald Trump gives Beijing a chance to prevent the imposition of new customs duties on Chinese imported goods with a proposal for a series of talks between the two countries later this month.
The news was also confirmed by White House Economics Adviser Larry Kudlow, who told that Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin had sent an invitation letter to senior Chinese government officials but refused to give more details. On their part, the Chinese authorities welcomed the initiative for new trade talks.
The China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that the invitation was received and that both countries are currently discussing the details surrounding it.
“China has always believed that escalating the trade conflict is not in anyone’s interest. In fact, since the talks in Washington last month, the two-party trade negotiation teams have retained various forms of contact, and have been discussing the concerns of each country”, said he.
The possible restart of trade talks comes amid reports from some US administration officials that, according to them, there is a vulnerability and, in all likelihood, more flexibility among Chinese government officials, pressed by the duties already imposed and the threat of new ones.
It also followed the gradual increase in political tensions over President Trump to alleviate trade conflicts – which have tormented consumers and led to painful retaliation against Chinese exports before the mid-term elections in November.
Given the complexity of the negotiations between the two countries, it is still not certain that the invitation will end with a meeting. Chinese government officials say the Beijing administration has begun to become cautious about the decision-making process in Washington and may be tempted to accept unless there is a guarantee that the negotiators are also representing the president’s position.
According to sources, US authorities have sent the invitation to a Chinese group of state officials headed by Deputy Prime Minister Lu Chi. It will follow the previous round of negotiations between middle-level sales representatives. The new meeting will be on a high level and will take place either in Washington, or in Beijing.
So far, the Chinese authorities have not shown much willingness to respond to Washington’s demands, especially those that affect deeper structural changes in the country’s economy, such as the abolition of state-owned subsidies, for example.