Officials of the world’s two largest economies are to hold talks in Washington this week in a continuing attempt to avert a possible all-out trade war.
One the eve of the visit by a top Chinese official, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said “the gap remains wide” between Washington and Beijing, but he hopeful for a fair deal to avert a worsening of economic ties.
Ross, speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, said, however, that the United States would be able to withstand such a clash better than China.
“They would run out of targets for tariffs much sooner than we would,” Ross asserted.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, arrives Tuesday for talks with U.S. officials scheduled to continue throughout the week. Liu will be joined by officials from several Chinese ministries and the Peoples' Bank of China, which implements the government's monetary policy.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday on Twitter he is working with Xi to throw a lifeline to one Chinese company about which U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have long expressed cybersecurity concerns.
On Monday, he tweeted about trade negotiations with China, saying, “ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi.”
ZTE, a publicly traded company based in Shenzhen, makes cellular phones and other devices that could be used to spy on Americans, according to U.S. officials.
Last month, the Commerce Department announced American companies would be prohibited for seven years from exporting critical microchips and other components to ZTE to punish it for violating a sanctions settlement over illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.