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Wilbur Ross: China 'Agreed to Concept' of Cutting Deficit

Wilbur Ross: China 'Agreed to Concept' of Cutting Deficit
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (Ron Sachs/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 10 May 2018 03:49 PM

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that China appeared to be open to reducing its trade deficit with the U.S. by as much as $200 billion within two years, along with other White House demands.

"I think they agreed to the concept of a trade-deficit reduction," Ross told the CNBC Capital Exchange Breakfast in Washington. "The questions are how much and how do you get there?"

Ross was part of a delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that traveled to Beijing last week, making the $200 billion request in a last-minute summit before new tariffs possibly take effect later this month.

The U.S. delegation also asked that most of China's deficit reduction come from purchases of U.S. goods, according to a document obtained by CNBC.

"Our approach has been to request individual products on which we could sell more to them than we are selling now, as opposed to them selling us less," Ross said Thursday. "Us selling more to them has more bang for the buck for our economy."

China's Vice Premier Liu He is expected to visit Washington this month to continue negotiations, though Ross said "there's a chance it's not next week."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said Liu was scheduled to visit next week, but a Commerce Department spokesman told CNBC Thursday that "discussions of timing are ongoing."

The U.S. has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for alleged violations of intellectual property.

The U.S. Trade Representative might impose the duties after a public comment period ends May 22.

In addition, the Treasury Department must decide by then whether further Chinese investment restrictions are warranted, CNBC reports.

President Donald Trump has called on Beijing to cut its annual trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion by the end of 2020 and refrain from retaliation against proposed U.S. tariffs.

China, in turn, wants the United States to stop an investigation into the country's acquisition of sensitive American technologies.

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China appeared to be open to reducing its trade deficit with the U.S. by as much as $200 billion within two years, along with other White House demands, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday.
commerce, secretary, wilbur ross, china, trade deficit, trade war, tariffs
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2018-49-10
Thursday, 10 May 2018 03:49 PM
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