China, US look to diffuse trade conflict; talks slated late August

China, US look to diffuse trade conflict; talks slated late August

China's commerce ministry reiteratedthat Beijing opposed trade protectionism and would not accept any unilateral trade restrictions.

China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday that a vice minister will travel to the an unspecified date, at the invitation of the Treasury Department, to discuss trade issues.

However, the upcoming meeting is lower-level compared to the four previous rounds of negotiations.

"The main goal is to see whether both sides are really interested in having further dialogue".

Washington is due to impose tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods on August 23, and China has warned that it will retaliate to that move.

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Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held talks with US Commerce Minister Wilbur Ross in Beijing in June.

The president has argued that the tariffs are necessary in order to secure better trade deals, even though the USA has yet to establish any new agreement since the duties were put in place. The invitation for talks may have been meant to steady markets, they said.

Unless there is some breakthrough the United States and China are preparing to a next round of retaliatory levies, having implemented tariffs on $34 billion of each other's exports on July 6.

After negotiations in Washington in May, Beijing believed it had assurances from the USA that tariffs were off the table, with Mnuchin saying the trade war and tariffs were "on hold".

Trump has insisted on imposing tariffs on China and some US allies for national security reasons, even as Republicans and Democrats alike have warned that the policy will ultimately hurt American workers. However, financial observers expressed skepticism that any tangible agreement will come from the meeting, citing that the U.S. Trade Representative was not involved and the talks will occur between lower-level officials.

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