US Engaged in ‘Constructive’ Trade Talks With Chinese Envoy, Says White House Official

March 2, 2018 12:11 pm Last Updated: March 3, 2018 8:03 pm

The Trump administration held “frank and constructive” talks with China’s top economic adviser, Liu He, on March 1, a White House official said, the same day U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in a veiled threat to China.

“We underscored the importance of achieving balance and reciprocity in the economic relationship,” the official said of the meeting between Liu and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “We discussed ways to ensure fair and reciprocal trade.”

On Wednesday, Liu, a trusted aide to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, met with top U.S. business executives from companies including Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and Chubb as part of an attempt to ease trade tensions between the two countries.

Trump’s announcement on tariffs raised the prospect of retaliation from Beijing amid fears it could spark a trade war. Trump said the duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum would be formally announced next week.

China’s massive steel industry expansion has helped produce a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

From Reuters. Epoch Times staff member Annie Wu contributed to this report.