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China: US asks to resume trade talks

China: US asks to resume trade talks

BEIJING:Washington has invited Beijing to hold new talks on their escalating tariff dispute, the Chinese foreign ministry said Thursday, ahead of a decision by President Donald Trump on whether to raise duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

The announcement followed reports by American and European chambers of commerce that foreign companies in China have been hurt by earlier tariff hikes by both sides in the fight over Beijing’s policy.

“We have indeed received an invitation from the U.S. side. We welcome it,” said a ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. “Now the two sides are in communication on relevant details.”

Envoys from the two countries last met Aug. 22 in Washington but reported no progress.

Beijing has rejected pressure from the United States to roll back plans for state-led development of Chinese global champions in robotics, artificial intelligence and other fields.

Washington, Europe and other trading partners say those plans violate China’s market-opening commitments. American officials also worry they might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

The two governments have imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s goods.

Two-thirds of American companies that responded to a survey said they have suffered lost sales or lower profits due to that increase, two chambers of commerce reported Thursday.

More companies say they will suffer if Trump goes ahead with his planned tariff hike and Beijing retaliates, according to the American Chambers of Commerce in China and in Shanghai.

In addition to retaliatory tariffs, companies report China is slowing down customs clearances and stepping up inspections and other bureaucratic processes, the chambers said.