China says it's willing to hold talks with the US to resolve trade differences

  • China is willing to hold talks with the U.S. to resolve their differences over trade, China’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
  • Washington has specified actions China could take to help cut Beijing’s trade surplus with the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • A letter was sent to China’s economic policy coordinator Liu He last week, the Journal said.

China is willing to hold talks with the United States to resolve their differences over trade, China’s foreign ministry said on Monday, as alarm grows over a possible trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comments at a regular briefing in Beijing.

The U.S. administration last week sent a letter to Chinese economic overseer Liu He seeking a tariff cut on U.S. autos to help cut China’s trade surplus with the United States, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

In the letter, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said China should also buy more U.S. semiconductors and give U.S. firms greater
access to the Chinese financial sector, the Journal said, quoting sources with knowledge of the matter.

In the past few days, fears of a trade war have mounted following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday of plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese goods.

Firing a retaliatory warning shot in response to separate U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium, China declared plans to levy additional duties on up to $3 billion of U.S. imports.

The deepening rift has sent a chill through financialmarkets and the corporate world as investors predicted dire consequences for the global economy should trade barriers start going up.

Liu He, one of China’s newly appointed vice premiers, told Mnuchin in a telephone call on Saturday that the U.S. has flouted trade rules with its inquiry into intellectual property, and that China will defend its interests.

U.S. officials say an eight-month probe under the 1974 U.S. Trade Act has found that China engages in unfair trade practices by forcing American investors to turn over key technologies to Chinese firms.

WATCH: China fights back on steel, aluminum tariffs

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