Running Out of Tariff Options, China Takes Aim at American Companies

Salam Bin Mohammed 24 was first in the queue for the new iPhone 8 at Apple’s Regent Street store in London last September. Analysts will be watching to see if demand is as strong for new models this year

US reached out to China for new trade talks, sources say

"The Trump administration should not be mistaken that China will surrender to the USA demands".

"I think most of us think it's better to talk than not to talk, and I think the Chinese government is willing to talk", Kudlow said.

In Washington, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow sounded a cautious note about the possible outcome of talks.

He said on Twitter that a Wall Street Journal story on Wednesday about the talks invitation from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin amid rising US political pressure on Trump to ease up on trade fights "has it wrong".

The Trump administration is preparing to activate tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, hitting a broad array of internet technology products and consumer goods from handbags to bicycles to furniture.

Mr Kudlow told Fox Business News on Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "has apparently issued an invitation".

China welcomed on Thursday a USA offer to hold fresh trade talks, adding that the two are discussing the details and providing some hope the world's top economies could step back from the brink of an all-out trade war.

"The White House has threatened to fire the next barrage of tariffs at $200 billion more Chinese goods, expecting with this onslaught, or subsequent ones, China will wave a white flag", he said.

In the ongoing trade dispute between the USA and China, perhaps no companies are more affected than American automakers that are manufacturing their cars in China.

If another US$267 billion worth of Chinese goods are targeted by the USA before the year's end, it would amount to essentially the entire annual volume of goods imported from China.

"If we meet, we meet?" he said.

But he cautioned: "I guarantee nothing".

Such a meeting could take place in Washington or Beijing, though the timing is unclear, according to informed sources.

Trump has already imposed 25-per cent customs duties on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods, triggering a tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

Envoys from the two countries last met August 22 in Washington but reported no progress.

"I suppose that protectionism has just been accepted and "baked into the cake" for the US vehicle market, and USA consumers aren't even aware that Ford and GM have a "cartel" for the USA truck market that allows them to charge above-market prices and earn above-market profits for trucks", he said. A meeting among cabinet-level officials could ease market worries over the escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world's two largest economies and raise costs for companies and consumers.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that in addition to preparing tariffs on the further $200 billion worth of goods, he had tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of goods ready "on short notice if I want".

AmCham's survey results come a day after more than 60 USA industry groups launched a coalition called Americans For Free Trade, which aims to halt the White House's proposed tariffs.

The invitation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes amid a swelling chorus of opposition to tariffs from Western business circles.

China accuses the United States of launching "the largest trade war in economic history" and has retaliated in kind.

More than 60 per cent of USA companies polled said the US tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said tariffs by China on USA goods were having an effect on business.

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