'Frank' trade discussions in Beijing: US commerce secretary

Navy Rim of the Pacific Exercise

The two sides issued a joint statement in Washington last month, vowing to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

Blame China and those who are breaking trade rules, not Donald Trump, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said as China warned that all commitments so far in talks with the USA over trade will be withdrawn if the president carries out his threat to impose tariffs.

The warning from Beijing got here after delegations led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's high financial official, Vice Premier Liu He, wrapped up talks on Beijing's pledge to slim its commerce surplus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC after the preliminary deal that China could increase purchases of USA energy by $40 to $50 billion and up the value of their agricultural imports by 35% to 40%.

After a three-day meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrial nations that ended Saturday in Canada, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the USA trade actions.

On Saturday, Washington's main allies delivered a unified message of shock and dismay at a Group of Seven ministerial meeting, urging President Trump to rescind the punishing metal tariffs.

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President Donald Trump threw the status of the talks into doubt this week by renewing a threat to hike tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

The tariffs on U.S. allies also risk hampering their joint efforts to address mutual concerns about Chinese trade practices such as forced technology transfers and state support for businesses.

"It's definitely related to trade talks", said a China-based trader with an worldwide firm.

Just over a week later, President Donald Trump said the USA was instead forging ahead with a plan to slap tariffs on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. But even as Beijing has maintained it will not back down, it has announced conciliatory measures like lowering tariffs on auto and consumer good imports to address some of the Trump Administration's concerns.

However, Beijing warned that any agreements would not take effect "if the United States side imposes any trade sanctions including raising tariffs".

The world's two largest economies have been at loggerheads over trade and industrial practices for months with the talks under way in the Chinese capital the third formal round of negotiations. But others, including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, are known to take a more hawkish stance.

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"The "just say no" crowd in China is getting emboldened by the American allies that are strongly pushing back as the United States ratchets up the pressure", he said.

"Don't blame Trump", he told "Fox News Sunday". "To suggest that it's news that Congress would want to reclaim powers that belong to the executive branch, I don't think is exactly newsworthy", he said on CNN. "But this is a very rare case where opposition to the United States was unanimous". "But the point is we have to protect ourselves". This is a trade dispute, if you will. I don't deny that.

Reflecting the increasingly besieged character of the Trump administration on trade, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow let fly with a disjointed and semi-coherent rant, blaming all and sundry for breaking trade rules "all over the place" and declaring that Trump was simply responding to decades of trade abuse.

Trump pointed to progress under his watch during a Monday conference call with grassroots activists surrounding the 500th day of his administration. Blame those who don't want reciprocal trading, tariff rates and protections.

"Trump claims that he is seeking fairness and reciprocity in the U.S.' economic relationship with China but, so far, he has sought to extort gains from China using the economic advantages the USA has", it said.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland warned in an interview on CNN that the U.S. tariffs would hurt American companies and consumers first and foremost.

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Meanwhile, another tweet started doing the rounds online.in which every first letter of, her sentences spelled the word "HELP". Last Wednesday, Melania Trump tweeted in response to news stories about her absence from public view.

Seeking to push back against the isolation of the USA within the G7, Mnuchin said there was support for Washington's push against China over its alleged forced technology transfers and other policies.

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