Major U.S. trade groups link up in anti-tariff coalition

President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting at the White House on Sept. 11 2018. LEAH MILLIS  Reuters

President Donald Trump holds an Oval Office meeting at the White House on Sept. 11 2018. LEAH MILLIS Reuters

Some businesses are concerned about rising costs of imported materials; others, particularly farmers, about retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Europe on US exports.

"I think most of us think it's better to talk than not to talk, and I think the Chinese government is willing to talk", Kudlow said, declining to provide any further details.

China is clearly under economic duress as its economy slows and the next round of 25 percent tariffs targeting US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods are made ready for launch in Washington.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin led the US delegation of top trade officials to Beijing where they met with their counterparts.

On Wednesday, more than 60 USA industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public.

Two people familiar with the effort said Mnuchin's invitation was sent to his Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, for talks in coming weeks, with the time and the venue still to be agreed.

AmCham chairman William Zarit said American business leaders in China want Trump to rethink the levies he has proposed on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports, including many consumer goods.

In recent meetings with cabinet-level Chinese officials, USCBC representatives were told that licensing won't resume "until the trajectory of the U.S".

So far, the United States and China have hit $50 billion worth of each other's goods with tariffs in a dispute over USA demands that China make sweeping economic policy changes, including ending joint venture and technology transfer policies, rolling back industrial subsidy programs and better protecting American intellectual property.

Roughly three-in-four firms surveyed said duties on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods would hurt business further, and close to 70% said additional retaliatory Chinese tariffs would be bad for business.

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". China has made its own threats of retaliation against the US, issuing tariffs on USA exports to China.

American companies in China are being hurt by tariffs in the growing trade war between Washington and Beijing, according to a survey of hundreds of firms, prompting the U.S. business lobbies behind the poll to urge the Trump administration to reconsider its approach.

A new coalition named Americans for Free Trade will act as an umbrella group for USA manufacturers, retail and agricultural businesses to lobby against Trump under the slogan, "Tariffs hurt the heartland".

Sixty-four percent of companies that responded to the AmCham survey, which was conducted between August 29 and September 5, said the first round of tariffs that Trump slapped on $50 billion in Chinese imports this year have negatively affected their operations, while 63 percent said the same about the equal amount of duties Beijing imposed in retaliation.

More than 60 percent of United States companies polled said the USA tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on U.S. goods were having an impact on business.

Hundreds of members of lobby groups have travelled to Washington to meet with lawmakers.

The negative impact of the tariffs on USA firms has been "clear and far-reaching", according to a joint survey by AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai. "I don't see the Chinese running to the table to up their offer in any appreciable way".

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