China Tries to Calm Trade Tensions with Washington

Trade tension between China and the United States is growing. Trump administration officials are increasingly expressing their criticism of China’s trade policies. China is sending Liu He, the country’s top economic policymaker, to Washington this week to smooth tensions between the two countries. Liu is making this trip before China’s congress conducts its annual meeting. Liu is expected to be named the next vice premier for financial and industrial policy for China at this meeting.

The Trump Administration and the Commerce Department both view steel and aluminum imports from countries like China as a national security threat. This is because China and a few other countries implement higher tariffs on their imports of American products than the U.S. imposes tariffs on the imports of products from these countries. President Trump and the Commerce Department are looking at ways to restrict these and other imports through higher tariffs. The Chinese government would prefer the status quo, but they are also ready for a trade confrontation.

In early February, the Chinese government sent its top diplomat Yang Jiechi to Washington to maintain the status quo and soothe the concerns in Washington. Nothing significant was accomplished with this visit. The Trump administration was already too focused on China’s military buildup and China’s growing trade surplus with the U.S. The large delegation Liu is expected to lead is an indication of Liu’s growing influence within the Chinese government. Experts believe Liu will eventually be the head of China’s central bank after the current central bank leader retires later this year.

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