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USA: “US, China Said To Near Deal To Avert “Tit-For-Tat” Trade War”

With its long-anticipated petroyuan contract only hours old, senior government officials in Beijing are reprotedly working with the US to try and reach an agreement that would stave off a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies, according to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin along with trade representative Robert Lighthizer on one side,  and Vice Premier Liu He, effectively China’s economy czar and President Xi Jinping’ “real second-in-command” on the other, have been negotiating behind the scenes, according to the FT.

And although nothing has been finalized, Liu has assured Mnuchin that China would cave on several US demands, including allowing foreign investment in Chinese securities firms and offering to buy more semiconductors from US semiconductor firms, the FT reported. There’s also been talks that China could loosen restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing, telecom, medical and education.

Mnuchin, who is reportedly considering whether he should plan a trip to Beijing to expedite the negotiations, said Sunday after the US and South Korea reached a trade deal to exempt the South from US aluminum and steel tariffs that he was optimistic the US might reach a similar agreement with China. The Treasury secretary has reportedly handed Liu a list of US priorities, including loosening restrictions on US auto imports.

Late last week, President Trump announced that he planned to impose $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese industrial exports to reduce China’s nearly $400 million merchandise trade surplus with the US. Beijing subsequently announced it would retaliate with sanctions on a just $3 billion of US imports, with threats of more sanctions to come.

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