Mnuchin Offers China Yet Another Chance to Negotiate Ahead of Tariffs

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U.S. President Donald Trump has instructed aides to proceed with tariffs on about $200 billion more Chinese goods, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's attempts to restart trade talks with China, a source familiar with the decision said.

A new group, called Americans for Free Trade, composed of almost 100 trade associations, launched a campaign Wednesday to lobby lawmakers and organize nationwide events in opposition to Trump's trade policies. They plan events in Chicago, Nashville, Pennsylvania and OH starting next week, according to a statement posted on a new website. "The stakes couldn't be higher for American families, businesses, farmers and workers threatened by job losses and higher prices as a result of tit-for-tat tariffs".

President Donald Trump wants to move forward with tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods despite new overtures to China from the Treasury Department.

So far, the U.S. has imposed a 25 per cent tariff on Chinese imports totalling US$50 billion (S$68.5 billion).

Kudlow earlier told reporters outside the White House that communications with Beijing had "picked up a notch" and added he saw that as "a positive thing".

China welcomed the offer of talks and said the two countries were discussing the details, according to reports.

In its editorial, the paper draws attention to China's bid to seek approval from World Trade Organisation to impose sanctions on United states, over threats to impose hefty tariffs by Washington.

But analysts say the newest series of tariffs would be a particularly deep cut for both economies, and would likely come ahead of November midterm elections, with recent polls showing Trump and the Republican Party may be vulnerable in the House of Representatives.

Trump is demanding that China stop requiring USA companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market.

Beijing "has indeed received an invitation from the United States and holds a welcoming attitude to it", said Gao, noting the "two sides are still communicating on the specific details". Peter Navarro, one of Trump's closest trade advisers, has advocated for a more strident approach.

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.

Top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox Business Network on Wednesday: "Secretary Mnuchin, who is the team leader with China, has apparently issued an invitation". Some 67.6 percent said the same of China's planned retaliatory tariffs on $60 of American goods.

The damage from the trade war to U.S. businesses in China includes lost profits, higher manufacturing costs and lower demand for their products, according to the survey of more than 430 companies in industries ranging from technology to health care.