International

Amid Trade Tiff, China Offers to Buy $70B of US Goods

In a new wrinkle tied to the tariff tiff between the United States and China, the latter said it would be amenable to buying roughly $70 billion of U.S. farm and manufacturing goods. That buying spree would come if the U.S. walks away from levying tariffs on China, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with negotiations that are still taking place.

The negotiations came amid talks that spanned the weekend in Beijing. The $70 billion purchase from China would take place in the first year of a trade pact that also would see the Asian nation buy commodities from the U.S., including natural gas, corn and soybeans. That buying activity would help boost the fortunes of states within the Farm Belt, and might be a nod to locales that helped Donald Trump ascend to the presidency in 2016.

As has been widely reported, President Trump has sought to get China to reduce a trade deficit that is as much as $375 billion – the target is to get that down by at least $200 billion.

Chinese officials have said the $70 billion concession would be off the table if the tariffs floated by the U.S. – including $50 billion worth of Chinese goods – are indeed made reality.

And yet the overture from China, said the report, may be a “non-starter” due to the fact that the U.S. is likely to push ahead with those aforementioned tariffs by the middle of the month. Key among the U.S. demands, beyond the goal of reducing the trade deficit, is that China stop demanding that firms transfer technology to the Chinese firms with whom they hold partnerships.

Forging ahead on the tariffs – from the U.S. side – is a strategy that comes after the two firms had stated what The WSJ termed a “truce” in the dispute over trade. In addition, the Chinese delegation in this past weekend’s talks wanted to know if the Trump administration would still look to help ZTE Corp in the wake of sanctions.

No deals on the offers discussed this past week have been signed yet, said the report.

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