United States delegation to visit China for trade talks

U.S. trade envoy Robert Lighthizer is reportedly worried Trump will cave on China, so he carries a chart

The talks are going ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive - Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou - in Canada on US charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran. As of July, the US was running a $222.6 billion trade deficit with China. As a result, the president initiated tariffs that made certain goods imported from China more expensive to USA citizens, damping demand for these products.

China and the United States established diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979, with Washington pledging to maintain only non-official ties with Taiwan. -China relations will force other USA companies to cut their sales estimates in China.

On December 1 the two leaders agreed to complete talks about technology, intellectual property and cyber theft issues within 90 days, and hold off on new tariffs in the meantime.

The New York Federal Reserve bank said in an analysis Friday that "higher import tariffs had immediate impacts on USA domestic prices", raising the consumer and producer prices by 0.3 percentage points higher than they would otherwise have been. Growth is expected by the government to have eased to around 6.5 percent in 2018, down from 6.9 percent in 2017.

China, the world's second largest economy, likely expanded at more than 6 percent last year, reflecting a slowdown from years past and, in recent months, its most tepid rate since the depths of the global financial crisis a decade ago.

Both governments face economic pressure to reach a settlement.

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Tensions between the two nations have been rising for the past year, after tariff disputes between USA president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jingping, disrupted exports causing global economic slowdown fears.

Third-quarter US growth was 3.4 percent and unemployment is at a five-decade low.

Their conflict is occurring against the backdrop of a slowdown in China and an expected US slump that a prolonged trade war could worsen - a fear that's weighing on financial markets.

While Trump and other officials have said talks between the two sides are progressing well, they have given few details on concessions that China has made.

USTR said the U.S. delegation would also include under secretaries from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, as well as senior officials from those agencies and the White House. "I think they sort of have to".

But aside from products facing earlier tariffs - including washing machines, solar panels and metals - Chinese exports to the United States have held up better than expected. 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. An escalating trade war would make the situation even worse. Yet those very pressures, analysts say, give the two countries a stronger incentive to make peace.

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