June 5, 2018 / 5:20 PM / a year ago

Trump to meet trade advisers over $70 billion China offer -sources

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the U.S. Coast Guard Change-of-Command ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with his trade advisers on Tuesday to discuss an offer by China to import an extra $70 billion of American goods over a year as Beijing tries to defuse a potential trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters there have been no discussions on what Washington would have to do in return. They said the Chinese offer included increased imports of agricultural and energy commodities as well as some manufactured goods.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the weekend and a statement issued after the talks made no mention of specific offer or numbers.

It was not clear whether Washington would accept the offer and whether it would be enough to avert a trade war.

Trump was briefed on the offer and discussions were underway on how to proceed, one of the sources said. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity.

China has complained that it should not have to negotiate measures to reduce its $375 billion goods trade surplus with America under the threat of tariffs on up to $150 billion of its exports to the U.S as part of a separate dispute over intellectual property (IP) protections.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had said the IP tariffs were on hold after China signaled its willingness to reduce its trade surplus with the United States.

The administration has said that a final list of goods to be tariffed would be issued next week and that Treasury plans to limit Chinese investment in the United States were also under way.

Ross’s talks in China were focused solely on increasing exports, one of the sources said. Structural issues like joint venture rules, market access and policies that result in technology transfers were not covered.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld and David Lawder; Writing by David Chance; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Grant McCool

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