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>> Efforts by the US and China to avert a trade war hitting a snag on Friday after repudiation from the Chinese government over a claim from US officials who said China was ready to hand President Trump concessions to slash the trade deficit. Reuters correspondent Michael Martina is in Beijing.
>> What US officials had said overnight was that the Chinese officials had presented to the US side some sort of package of concessions aimed at reducing the bilateral trade deficit in goods by about $200 billion a year. Now, in Beijing on Friday China's foreign ministry flatly denied that.
They called it a rumor and said it simply wasn't true.>> Top Chinese negotiators are in Washington this week for trade talks led by US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The idea of a $200 billion deficit reduction was a goal put forward by US delegation weeks ago, which proposed that China buy more American goods, but so far China hasn't agreed to it.
>> The reality is many experts, many columnist believe that achieving such a goal would be quite a tall order. For example, the number one US export to China, last year, was airplanes at around $16 billion, and behind that was soybeans. So in order to achieve a $200 billion dollar reduction, China would have to purchase a significant amount of additional goods.
And remember, this is on an annual basis, so they would essentially have to do it every year.>> We have been ripped off by China.>> Trump has threatened to impose over $150 billion in punitive tariffs to combat what he says is Beijing's misappropriation of US technology. China could still make some concessions to boost imports from the United States.
But Chinese government advisors say reducing the surplus with the US by 200 billion is very unlikely.