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Trump White House Split Over China Trade War

Trump White House Split Over China Trade WarTrump White House Split Over China Trade War

Some White House officials are trying to restart talks with China to avoid a trade war before US tariffs on Chinese products take effect July 6, three people familiar with the plans said, setting up a battle with others in the administration who favor a harder line.

Staff of the National Economic Council have contacted former US government officials and China experts in recent days to gauge chances for high-level talks in the next two weeks, the people said on condition of anonymity to discuss the inquiries. One idea NEC staff floated was inviting Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan before the tariff deadline, they said, Bloomberg reported.

The outreach signals a willingness by some US officials to seek a truce before $34 billion in Chinese products are hit with tariffs rather than trigger a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Still, the chances of such negotiations happening in the near term are slim as long as opponents inside the administration favor penalizing Beijing. President Donald Trump has shown no signs of backing down.

The US administration has said that after July 6, tariffs on an additional $16 billion worth of Chinese goods will be imposed after a public review period. The tariff threats have hurt US stocks in the past week, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined for an eighth straight day on Thursday.

After China swiftly responded with counter threats on the same amount of tariffs and timeline, Trump on Monday directed the US trade representative’s office to identify an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products that would be subject to a 10% tariff. The administration has not published a timeline for these tariffs.

“If it really does get to be a big war, we have many more bullets than any of these other countries,” commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Thursday.

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