US's Mnuchin to lead trade talks with China

China vows to defend its own interests in US trade talks

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President Donald Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro will take part in talks this week with China's top economic envoy aimed at defusing a brewing trade war with the US, a White House official said, indicating a shift from earlier plans.

"China has seen our demands".

Axios also reported on tensions during the trip to Beijing, saying Navarro and Mnuchin had a tense exchange over Mnuchin's decision to take part in one-on-one talks with China. -China trade imbalance and other problems with the trading relationship. "And his hope for this trip was to begin to address the trade imbalance, increasing demand of Chinese consumers for USA products, as well as to begin to take steps on the structural reforms".

Mnuchin and Navarro are both very close to Trump, but have much different viewpoints on trade policy. Liu is now in Washington, D.C., for meetings and is expected to meet with White House officials Thursday and Friday. -China flights, a person familiar with the episode said.

Navarro has expressed hawkish views on Chinese trade policies in the past, even writing a book titled "Death by China". Navarro had previously been isolated by other senior officials before the president promoted him earlier this year. But as the China discussions have intensified, Navarro and Mnuchin have been warring behind the scenes, with Mnuchin asserting himself as the key interlocutor and Navarro finding himself boxed out.

The Washington talks will start as USTR finishes up public hearings on the first batch of USA tariffs on $50-billion worth of Chinese goods proposed as punishment for alleged violations of US intellectual rights.

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But there have been signs China is seeking to add a number of unrelated measures to the trade talks, and Trump has shown a willingness to entertain them.

The comments followed Mr Trump's surprise announcement on Sunday that the administration was exploring ways to soften the blow from a ban on exporting crucial U.S. technology to the company, which Washington says violated sanctions and misled USA officials. White House officials knew that China wanted restrictions to be loosened, but the fate of this company had not been part of the White House's original negotiating platform.

Navarro wasn't listed among the USA officials who will take part in this week's talks in a statement released by the White House earlier Wednesday.

The administration officials said Navarro wasn't a team player when the USA sent a delegation led by Mnuchin earlier this month to Beijing to meet with Liu.

Following a Bloomberg News report Wednesday that Navarro had been excluded, the White House official - speaking on condition of anonymity - said that Navarro would indeed participate. Navarro's shift away from a lead role in the talks comes amid a growing rift over trade policy with Mnuchin, who has favoured more achievable deals to open China's economy to US firms and ease tariff threats.

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