China trade spat 'inspired by evil practices,' says Ross

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"Instead of tariffs, we strongly encourage the administration to build an global coalition that can challenge China at the [World Trade Organization] and beyond", Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council wrote in a letter last month to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of the United States officials visiting China this week. "It's a big, big challenge". "It has not worked well for us".

China's unique political system and centralised leadership mean that it will have more endurance should a trade war break out, the official said.

He is due to travel to China with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House economic advisers Peter Navarro and Larry Kudlow to meet with their counterparts on Thursday and Friday.

The trade group - which represents more than 60 big tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook - said many countries share the United States' concern about Beijing's unfair trade practices.

Trump administration officials this week have already lowered expectations for a breakthrough, saying the trip could be cut short if it's not satisfactory and that President Donald Trump will have the final say on accepting any deals.

The coming to the table with a laundry list of complaints about how China controls its markets.

US -based trade experts said they expected Beijing to offer Trump's team a package of policy changes that may include some previously announced moves, such as a phase-out of joint venture requirements for some sectors, autos tariff reductions and increased purchases of USA goods. "This won't be, suddenly in Beijing, a breathtaking release (that) everything is solved". China and the USA have already signaled $50 billion of retaliatory tariffs are coming.

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Merkel said any decision on whether to exempt the bloc from tariffs permanently was now in the president's hand. She also discussed the Iran nuclear deal , Germany's military spending and the prospect of the US.

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Ross did not provide details on the Trump administration's specific demands on China but said, "We have a pretty good idea of what we need to come out with". The U.S. trade deficit with the Asian nation has grown too big and is "inspired by evil practices", he said.

The US government says it's taking action against China over policies that have enabled Chinese firms to unfairly get their hands on sensitive technology from American companies.

"I'm looking forward to very frank discussion on the trade issues, and to continue those discussions and see if we can reach a mutual solution to this", Mnuchin said on Bloomberg Television on Monday.

"Delegation heading to China to begin talks on the Massive Trade Deficit that has been created with our Country", he tweeted as the team prepared to leave.

China hopes that the talks between the United States and North Korea will "achieve substantial progress", the Xinhua news agency reports.

"I think the goal from the American side is to get this conversation back on track from both sides talking past each other to China really understanding that the American concerns are genuine", he added.