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U.S. and China Ramp Up Trade Threats

Sep 17 , 2018

President Trump’s economic conflict with China is set to escalate this week, as the administration plans to unveil fresh tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products entering the U.S. and Beijing debates new ways to retaliate against U.S. corporations doing business in China.

The threats from both sides of the Pacific risk upending a fragile new diplomatic initiative—led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and supported by top U.S. financial and business executives—to see if they can broker negotiations aimed at staving off a new round of tit-for-tat penalties.

As part of that initiative, the Chinese government over the weekend was finalizing plans for a top commerce ministry official to visit Washington later this week to lay the groundwork for a trip by Vice Premier Liu He the following week. Mr. Liu is expected to see Mr. Mnuchin, and possibly Mr. Trump. But Chinese officials said that if Mr. Trump carries out his plans to announce the fresh tariffs early this week—as people familiar with his plans said over the weekend that he would—then those talks could get scuttled.

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