As US-China Trade Talks Resume, Why Trump Could Have New Leverage

Members of the U.S. trade delegation to China are shown returning from talks to a hotel in Beijing on Monday

Members of the U.S. trade delegation to China are shown returning from talks to a hotel in Beijing on Monday

A member of the US trade delegation to China, carries a folder as he leaves a hotel in Beijing, Jan. 7, 2019.

While tensions remain high between the global leaders, mounting concerns about an economic slowdown in China may give President Donald Trump's administration additional leverage, even as earlier tactics (namely, imposing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods) were met squarely with retaliation on the part of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

"We urge the United States to immediately stop such provocative actions", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing, adding that Beijing had lodged a diplomatic complaint with Washington.

Mnuchin has been a more moderate voice in trade talk discussions, with reports indicating he's against the trade war between the two countries, whereas U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his deputy Jeffrey Gerrish view the need for a tougher stance on China and trade.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Kim's visit and the trade talks were "two separate matters".

China claims nearly all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies for freedom of navigation naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.

Since March, the USA has slapped tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while China has placed a series of retaliatory tariffs on US goods totaling $110 billion.

Liu led a previous round of talks in Washington a year ago that ended in failure.

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How China will enforce those measures will be key to any deal.

The U.S. did not send its top trade negotiators that have participated in previous U.S.

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea in what China called a "provocation" as United States officials joined talks in Beijing during a truce in a bitter trade war.

The statement came as trade talks between China and the United States were under way in Beijing, the first round of face-to-face discussions since both sides agreed to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled worldwide markets. "We have firm confidence in the strong long-term fundamentals of the Chinese economy". They want Beijing to roll back government efforts to create global competitors in robotics and other fields.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He as they pose for photographers after their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, June 3, 2018. The two sides have shown signs of common ground in the past year, only for progress to stall.

After months of US tariffs on Chinese imports and Chinese retaliatory tariffs on USA goods, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held December 1, 2018 meetings at the G20 in Argentina.

If talks continue to go well, a cabinet-level meeting is likely to happen before the end of the month.

The meetings are the start of what economists say are likely to be lengthy, contentious negotiations over US complaints that Beijing's technology ambitions violate its trade obligations.

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