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China economy czar heading for Washington tariff war talks

Published:Tuesday | May 7, 2019 | 9:09 AM
In this Wednesday, May 1, 2019, file photo, members of U.S. and China delegation led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, stand for a group photo session after their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China confirmed Tuesday its economy czar will go to Washington for trade talks despite fears he might cancel after President Donald Trump threatened to escalate a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions.

The announcement suggests President Xi Jinping’s government is putting its desire to end a conflict that has battered Chinese exporters ahead of the political need to look tough in the face of U.S. pressure.

The decision to have Vice Premier Liu He, Xi’s top economic adviser, take part in talks due to start Thursday might keep alive hopes the two biggest global economies could make peace as early as this week.

The Trump administration is pressing Beijing to roll back plans for government-led development of Chinese global competitors in robotics, electric cars and other technologies.

Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say those violate China’s market-opening commitments and are based in part on stolen technology.

Trump’s announcement Sunday that he would increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% caused global stock markets to plunge.

Markets steadied after a Chinese spokesman said Monday that envoys still were preparing to go to the United States, though there was no word then whether Liu would take part.

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