China Is Offering To Buy Tens Of Billions Of Dollars Worth Of US Products To Dodge Trump’s Trade Tariffs

Andy Wong/Pool via REUTERS

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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China has reportedly offered to purchase an estimated $70 billion worth of U.S. products if the Trump administration holds fire on its planned punitive trade tariffs.

A U.S. trade delegation led by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross met a team of Chinese negotiators led by senior Chinese economic envoy Liu He in Beijing over the weekend. During talks, the Chinese side said it would significantly boost agricultural and energy imports, purchasing more U.S. soybeans, corn, natural gas, crude oil and coal, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The package would likely be worth around $70 billion, U.S. and Chinese officials estimated.

China first agreed to buy more American agricultural and energy products in mid-May, when Chinese officials visited Washington for trade talks. At that time, the Chinese side stated it would take “effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China,” the relevant joint statement revealed without offering any specifics. (RELATED: Beijing Has Agreed To ‘Substantially Reduce’ America’s Trade Deficit With China)

Where the deal faces a potential roadblock is Beijing’s warning that it will not follow through if President Donald Trump pushes ahead with his tariffs, particularly those targeting China for intellectual property theft in technology sectors. (RELATED: China Warns The US Will Not See Any Changes On Trade If Trump Pushes Ahead With Tariffs)

Following negotiations in Washington in May, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced a ceasefire in the escalating trade war between China and the U.S. (RELATED: Treasury’s Mnuchin Says US Putting Trade War With China ‘On Hold’)

Amid cooling trade tensions, the White House unexpectedly announced plans to impose tariffs, along with other trade penalties, on China this month. (RELATED: Trump To Hit China With Billions Of Dollars In Trade Penalties, White House Reveals)

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro then described Mnuchin’s earlier comments as an “unfortunate sound bite,” explaining, “What we’re having with China is a trade dispute — plain and simple.”

China’s offer is exactly that, not a signed deal. The president has been briefed on Ross’s negotiations, but it is unclear at this time how the administration will proceed on tariffs. More talks may be necessary before a solid agreement can be hammered out.

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