U.S. delegation to visit China for trade talks

US manufacturers say Trump tariffs will bring higher prices, not more jobs

Friday China's government said a US trade delegation will visit Beijing next week for two days of talks on carrying out an agreement reached by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to postpone new tariff hikes.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead a working-level team to China next week for the first round of face-to-face trade talks. Its one-sentence announcement gave no other details of the agenda or who else would take part. USA officials have said that if the talks fail to produce a satisfactory agreement Washington will increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent.

In addition to Gerrish, the official delegation will also include David Malpass, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for worldwide affairs. "There are a heck of a lot of USA companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a deal with China".

"Clearly both sides are feeling economic stress, but both have high ambitions". Auto sales tumbled 16 percent in November over a year earlier and weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices. As noted by Reuters, Hassett says that the slowing Chinese economy will affect all us companies doing business in the country, not just Apple.

The office of the United States Trade Representative also released a statement Friday announcing the delegation that would be representing the US.

In December, Beijing's commerce ministry said China and the United States "made new progress" on the issues of trade balance and intellectual property, one of the main sticking points of the trade dispute, during a phone call between officials from the two countries.

The country´s manufacturing sector has also been hit by the trade dispute, contracting last month for the first time in over two years, according to official data. They complain China's companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though nearly all deals are approved unchanged. The investment bank UBS said Friday that 37 percent of 200 manufacturers surveyed said they have shifted out of China over the past 12 months.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington soared in 2018 over trade disputes, although US President has frozen the latest planned tariff hike and on Saturday reported "big progress" after a call with his counterpart. It said the threat of USA tariff hikes was the "dominating factor" for almost half, while others moved due to higher costs or tighter environmental regulation.

Despite the December truce, "most firms expect trade war to escalate", the report said.

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