Peter Navarro and Steven Mnuchin feuded at Beijing trade talks

Pauline Gross
May 17, 2018

The trade delegation from China, led by Vice Premier Liu He will participate in meetings at the Department of the Treasury on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18, 2018.

While the Trump administration has made slashing the USA trade deficit with China a priority, the US business community is also hoping for developments in more longstanding issues.

Navarro, the White House trade and manufacturing adviser, attended an initial round of trade talks two weeks ago in Beijing.

China has promised to retaliate in equal measure, targeting USA soybeans, aircraft, autos and other goods for additional tariffs, causing US farm commodity prices to fall.

Navarro fought with Mnuchin during their trip to Beijing, shouting and cursing at the treasury secretary over his approach to the trade talks with their Chinese counterparts, two sources familiar with the incident told CNN.

A Senate Republican aide said that Hatch doesn't support tariffs and is hopeful the USA won't need to use them, but he wants to ensure the administration can keep them on the table, particularly with China in town this week. "Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal", Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday. I worry that the US government could make a wrong step and lose its opportunity in the huge Chinese market.

"We hope the related departments quickly take real action", said Gao, while relaying some of China's other demands such as fair and equitable treatment for Chinese products and investment.

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The United States and China will resume trade talks on Thursday in a bid to avert a damaging tariff war, Reuters reports, citing senior Trump administration officials. The U.S. has very little to give, because it has given so much over the years.

Navarro, author of the book "Death by China", has been the loudest "nationalist" voice on trade policy in the administration and a major advocate for punitive tariffs on Chinese goods to try to force Beijing to change its trade practices. "America's national security must not be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations".

Commerce Secretary Ross has said twice in the past week that the two sides had exchanged detailed lists of demands. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese imports to punish Beijing for violating American intellectual-property rights.

Close to 125 witnesses are scheduled to testify at the hearings, which conclude on Thursday, in a sign of the concern in the US business community over the administration's move.

The US delegation, among others, comprises Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. They also said he has of late "behaved erratically and unprofessionally".

"He recognizes there are problems in this trade relationship", Brady said of Liu after the meeting.

Liu told the group of House representatives on Wednesday that he wanted to address trade imbalances by increasing Chinese demand for American products, Brady said. "So, it's really hard to know at this point what to expect from an outcome because it could be anything - or nothing, I guess", she said.

Other reports by GizPress

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