Mnuchin 'cautiously optimistic' that U.S. and China can reach agreement on tariffs

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This follows a report the two sides are negotiating, with American officials submitting a list of market-opening requests to China.

On March 17, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows high-level officials to meet their Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa, further angering Beijing. Mnuchin is now believed to be considering a trip to Beijing to pursue these negotiations.

According to experts, the burden of tariffs focuses more on politics now, because it is the reward to US products from such industries as iron and steel, which operate in the central-northern part of the United States and supported Trump in the 2016 elections.

The list of Chinese imports the Trump administration is considering slapping higher tariffs on as part of a broader effort to punish China for what it calls unfair trade practices could include items such as rocket parts and high-tech innovations.

On March 23, China unveiled a list of $3 billion worth of US goods, including pork, fruits and wine, that could be targeted with tariffs in retaliation for steel and aluminum tariffs - if negotiations fail.

The investigation found that: U.S. companies face undue pressure to share sensitive technology with Chinese companies to gain access to those markets; U.S. firms aren't given a fair opportunity to license their technology in China; China improperly buys and controls intellectual property developed in the U.S. for competitive advantage; and the Chinese government continues to hack into the computers of prominent U.S. companies such as U.S. Steel and Alcoa.

On Saturday, Liu told Mnuchin in a telephone call the US inquiry violated global trade rules and Beijing would defend its interests, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

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"Our door is always wide open to dialogue and consultation".

"The U.S. has been wielding sticks worldwide over the past year".

The United States and China are acting tough over trade, but they're also busy talking to try to stop the situation spiraling out of control.

He added: "That's the way the trade game is played and China has, I'm quite sure, a very good economic map with which they will target certain places in the United States where pain will be maximised".

Speaking on Fox News on March 25, the USA treasury secretary said "we're working on a pathway to see if we can reach an agreement as to what fair trade is for them".

"Washington should take Beijing's stance seriously and do not be penny wise and pound foolish, which will hurt itself and others as well", Xinhua said.

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