U.S. Invites China to Trade Talks as Tariffs Loom

Salam Bin Mohammed 24 was first in the queue for the new iPhone 8 at Apple’s Regent Street store in London last September. Analysts will be watching to see if demand is as strong for new models this year

As the Trump administration readies major trade actions this month, including a potential $200 billion in new tariffs on imported Chinese goods, America's biggest trade associations - representing a wide swath of industries - have formed what they say will be a sweeping campaign against tariffs.

Companies reported the tariffs were pressuring profits, reducing demand for their products and driving up production costs.

One researcher at Taiwan's Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, Roy Chun Lee says that "the historical example of the U.S. -Japan economic conflict suggests that the U.S". American retail sales figures for August showed households took a breather from spending, though the data was still indicative of a strong job market and more after-tax pay.

It resulted, however, in Americans for decades missing out on innovations from European truck makers and paying higher prices for USA pickups and sport utility vehicles, said Mark J. Perry, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute.

In addition to retaliatory tariffs, companies report China is slowing down customs clearances and stepping up inspections and other bureaucratic processes, the chambers said.

Businesses are ratcheting up lobbying against tariffs that the Trump administration has imposed, or is considering.

"There seem to be domestic political pressures that are working against the perception of USA companies receiving benefits" during trade disputes, Parker told the South China Morning Post.

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The duty on light trucks, which account for about 50 percent of auto sales in the USA, was hardly mentioned before Mr. Trump started threatening Europe with tariffs on vehicles. "China trade relations, address long-standing inequities and level the playing field", Zheng said in a statement.

As of June 30, almost 450 entities employed lobbyists on trade issues - up from about 160 at the start of the year and about 100 when Trump took office, according to lobbying-disclosure reports compiled by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. But the Chinese government has thus far refused to budge on the White House's demands and vowed to retaliate against every American punch.

If the president follows through with his threat to expand the commercial battle by fourfold, Beijing has said it will slap levies of up to 25 percent on 5,207 types of American imports. The list includes industrial parts, chemicals and medical instruments.

Zheng expressed support for Trump's wider aim of levelling the playing field between the US and China, and addressing "long-standing inequities".

But Beijing has come up with a non-tariff move to deal with the escalating trade battle, and it's making many American businesses' worst fear come true.

The damage from the trade war to U.S. businesses in China includes lost profits, higher manufacturing costs and lower demand for their products, according to the survey of more than 430 companies in industries ranging from technology to health care. Boeing (+0.4%) pared gains after trading up more than 1%.

Officials from both countries have met four times for formal talks, most recently in August, when Treasury's undersecretary for global affairs, David Malpass, led discussions in Washington with Chinese Vice Minister Wang Shouwen.

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