U.S.-China Trade Talks in DC to Focus on ‘Rebalancing’ Relationship

Chinese President Xi Jinping steps out from behind China's flag as he takes his position for his joint news conference with President Barack Obama, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Washington, DC

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will continue to lead Trump administration officials holding trade talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Washington, DC, on Thursday and Friday with a focus on “rebalancing” the U.S.-China bilateral economic relationship.

Liu is leading China’s trade delegation in the United States this week according to a release from the White House detailing this week’s meetings. He is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top trade official and was involved in Beijing-based talks with the U.S. trade delegation two weeks ago. 

Mnuchin will lead the delegation that the White House finally revealed Wednesday will include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The White House added that additional senior Trump administration officials will participate in this week’s trade talks with China but did not offer their names.

Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Larry Kudlow, and Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat participated in the U.S. trade delegation in China. While not listed in the White House release in this week’s talks in DC, Kudlow and Navarro are expected to attend all or some of the meetings.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that according to two White House sources, Navarro would be cut out of these meetings. A White House official and an individual briefed on the matter disputed the Bloomberg report to Breitbart News reporter John Carney. The official confirmed that Navarro will be among those participating in the trade meetings this week.

The Trump administration trade delegation that traveled to China two weeks ago has been referred to by at least one person briefed on the trip as the “trade avengers.” The team of Mnuchin, Kudlow, Lighthizer, and Navarro balancing their team with the former two playing “good cop” and the latter two playing “bad cop.”

The team returned from Beijing with consensus that “immediate action” was needed with regard to China. 

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told Breitbart News during Monday’s press briefing that China’s “decades of unfair trade practices — forced technology transfers and the like” were part of the Beijing trade talks.

In early April, Kudlow said the Trump administration was considering providing the Chinese with a list of outcomes they were looking for in trade negotiations between the two nations. The administration has been adamant that they need to see “concrete” actions from the Chinese if they hope to avoid potential new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports that would address China’s unfair trade practices and stealing of intellectual property.

Kudlow told Breitbart News Saturday radio listeners last weekend that the team never expected to leave China with a trade deal but that talks did go more positively than some media outlets have reported. “It was really the beginning of what I think is going to be a lengthy process,” he said.

The U.S.-China trade talks in DC this week are a continuation of those Beijing-based trade meetings. The White House pinned focus of the talks to “rebalancing the United States–China bilateral economic relationship.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.