China delegation will visit U.S. to address trade war

China’s commerce ministry said Thursday it will send a delegation to the United States this month for talks aimed at easing the contentious trade war.

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Commerce Vice-Minister Wang Shouwen will lead the delegation to meet U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass, to discuss “economic and trade issues” at the invitation of the U.S. government, Beijing officials said Thursday.

The officials said China still opposes unilateralism and trade protectionism, but it welcomes dialogue based on principles of reciprocity, equality and integrity.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed Thursday the talks are scheduled.

“The Chinese government, in its totality, must not underestimate President Trump’s toughness and willingness to continue this battle,” he told CNBC.

The meeting would be the first high-level talks since a trade war began in July when both countries started imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on each other.

Asian stock markets recovered from low levels Thursday as reports surfaced that China agreed to the talks.

The South China Morning Post obtained a research note from analysts at Everbright Sun Hung Kai that suggested a trade imbalance would make negotiations difficult.

“Both sides remain far apart in negotiations,” the note said. “While China is looking to meet the United States halfway in the trade demands … the United States is looking for China to make much greater concessions.”

U.S. officials announced last week a new 25 percent tariff on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with its own tariffs.

The U.S. government will start collecting the new duties on 279 Chinese imports, like motorcycles, railway cars and thermometers, on Aug. 23.

By Sommer Brokaw