United States envoys due in Beijing for trade talks, China says

China and the US have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $300bn worth of goods in total two-way trade

China's government says American envoys will visit Beijing on Monday for talks on a tariff fight that threatens to put a drag on global economic growth.

The two days of talks are aimed at carrying out last month's agreement by US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to postpone new tariff hikes, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said. Its one-sentence announcement gave no other details of the agenda or who else would take part. So far, China and the United States have slapped tariffs on $300 billion worth of each other's goods.

The Commerce Ministry confirmed that Gerrish would lead the United States delegation at the talks.

China's own stock market has fallen by about 25% in the previous year as investor concerns grew about the impact of the trade war on China's economy.

"The negotiations next week are important because they will establish expectations, but we shouldn't expect major breakthroughs", said Mr Myron Brilliant, vice-president of worldwide affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce.

US manufacturers say Trump tariffs will bring higher prices, not more jobs
U.S. trade envoy Robert Lighthizer is reportedly worried Trump will cave on China, so he carries a chart

Trade representativesfrom the US and China to hold talks Jan 7, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both countries made a decision to suspend imposition of new tariffs on each other for the next 90 days and implement consensus that were reached between both presidents during the G20 meeting earlier this month. Auto sales tumbled 16 percent in November over a year earlier and weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices. Kevin Hassett, the White House economic adviser, said on Thursday the sharp drop in Chinese economic growth will hit US profits but sales for Apple and other firms should rebound once a trade deal is struck. Vice-ministers from the two countries talked on the phone yesterday, and will discuss how to implement the consensus reached in Argentina when the two leaders meet in Beijing, it said. Instead of seeing this as a healthy sign that US consumers are flush enough to purchase goods from the country, Trump looked at the figures as though they were on the scoreboard at a stadium and took them to be a sign that the USA was losing to China in some sort of contest. They complain China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged.

Tensions between the two nations have been rising for the past year, after tariff disputes between USA president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jingping, disrupted exports causing global economic slowdown fears. But that was due partly to exporters rushing to beat new duties - a trend that is fading. The shares closed at US$148.26 on Friday, down about 5.1 percent for the week.

Another 33 percent of companies said they plan to move out of China in the next six to 12 months, according to the UBS report.

Apple's lowered revenue outlook along with a double-digit drop in earnings at commodities giant Cargill Inc on Thursday may be among the clearest warning signs yet that the trade war's effects have begun to hit US companies.

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